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Catholic Bishops issue another statement on Civil Partnership Bill

June 17th, 2010 · 5 Comments · Equality, LGBT, Same Sex Partnerships

Last March following their spring meeting the Catholic Bishops issued a statement and published a leaflet on marriage and the family. Yesterday they met for the summer meeting and made another statement on the Civil Partnership Bill.

* Protection and support for marriage and family

Bishops discussed the statement Why Marriage Matters which was published by the Bishops’ Conference in March in the context of the Civil Partnership Bill which has just completed its Committee Stage in Dáil Éireann. Why Marriage Matters is available in print format and has been distributed in parishes. It is also available to download from the Bishops’ website

Bishops appealed to Oireachtas members to consider Why Marriage Matters as they discuss this Bill and in particular to consider in conscience the following excerpt from it before voting on the Bill:

“Oireachtas Eireann is about to pass legislation that seeks to give same-sex relationships a standing which will be as similar as possible to marriage. The Civil Partnership Bill will not permit adoption by same-sex couples. In most other respects, including tax and social welfare purposes, same-sex civil partnerships will be regarded as being equal to marriage.

“This is not compatible with seeing the family based on marriage as the necessary basis of the social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and State. Nor does it ‘guard with special care the institution of Marriage, on which the Family is founded.’? (Art. 41.3.1, Bunreacht na hÉireann)

Bishops called on Oireachtas members to allow for greater recognition of the proper autonomy of Churches and the right to social and civil freedom in religious matters. This includes the right of individuals to the free exercise of conscience in accordance with the objective moral order and the teaching of the Gospel. The current Bill, by exposing Civil Registrars to a fine and/or imprisonment should they act in accordance with their conscience on the matter of same-sex unions, undermines this cherished principle of a free and diverse society and imposes unjust limits on the ‘freedom of conscience and free expression and practice of religion’ guaranteed to every citizen in Article 44.2.1 of Bunreacht Na hÉireann. Bishops therefore appeal to Government to introduce amendments to the Bill to accommodate freedom of religious conscience on this vital matter. Bishops also ask Government to support a free vote for all members of Dáil Éireann and the Seanad on this Bill as it passes through the Houses of the Oireachtas.

So in brief they want Oireachtas members to have a free vote and for the Church to be allowed freedom of conscience and it and it’s members freedom to interfere/refuse to participate in duties required of them by the law in their job descriptions. Not withstanding the fact that Civil Partnership is all about Civil and nothing to do with religious organisations they are looking for it to be made into a religious issue.

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