Why can’t all the bishops show the same degree of sense as the Portuguese?
Civil marriage is not recognized by the church – only sacramental marriage, in Church, is officially acceptable. In the eyes of the church, a couple who have joined in civil marriage are technically “cohabiting”, not married. This applies whether the couple in question is same sex, opposite sex, or gender-indeterminate. All civil marriages should therefore be treated equally by the church. As it has not resisted the opposite-sex variety, then to be consistent, it should likewise not oppose the same sex-variety – unless it wishes to confirm that its motivation is based in sheer bigotry.
Many bishops of the US, and here in the UK, just cannot see this. Lt us welcome then, the wisdom of those in Portugal, and offer it as a model to those elsewhere.
Catholic Portugal set to legalise gay marriage
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LISBON — Catholic Portugal, traditionally one of Europe’s most socially conservative countries, is expected to approve the legalisation of gay marriage on Friday with a minimum of fuss.
With the governing Socialists and other left-wing parties enjoying a strong majority, the new law is likely to sail through the first reading debate and gain final approval before a visit by Pope Benedict XVI, due in Portugal in May.
In contrast to Spain, where the lead-up to the legalisation of gay marriage in 2005 brought hundreds of thousands of demonstrators onto the streets, the bill in Portugal has provoked only muted opposition even from the right.
While normally vocal on the role of marriage and the family in society, the Catholic Church has refused to mobilise on a subject which, according to Lisbon’s Cardinal Patriarch Jose Policarpo, is “parliament’s responsibility”.
Deputies are also expected on Friday to vote two other bills submitted by the Green party, the Left Bloc and others which would grant gay and lesbian couples the right to adopt children.
If the gay marriage proposals do pass through parliament, they will the have to go through a parliamentary commission before coming back for the final approval.
According to media reports, both the government and the Catholic Church wants the gay marriage issue to be resolved before the visit of the pope, scheduled for May 11-14.