The Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has voiced its support for traditional marriage, as it welcomed a new campaign group.
The Archbishop of Southwark, Peter Smith, said that the Government’s proposed consultation on redefining marriage was of “great concern”.
His comments come as the Coalition for Marriage (C4M) launched yesterday in London.
The online petition, which can be signed by clicking here, opposes any attempt to redefine marriage. It has already attracted more than 17,000 signatures.
Archbishop Smith said he welcomed “the formation of the ‘Coalition for Marriage’ as a grass-roots movement to campaign for the current definition of marriage to remain in English law”.
The Archbishop continued: “A change is not needed because the Civil Partnerships Act provides for the civil rights of same-sex couples already.
“Nor is a change desirable because it would fundamentally change the legal purpose of marriage by removing any reference to the begetting and rearing of children.
“Marriage is a fundamental social institution and neither the State nor the Church has the right to redefine its meaning.”
Last week the Roman Catholic Bishop of Shrewsbury, Rt Revd Mark Davies, encouraged MPs to rebel against their party leaderships and resist plans to change the definition of marriage.
According to press reports Roman Catholic bishops are considering issuing a pastoral letter to parishes across England and Wales urging over a million Roman Catholics to support the C4M campaign.