Vincent Nichols criticises gay marriage plans

gay marriage{jcomments off}Vincent Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, has criticised government plans to legalise gay marriage.

Nichols, who is the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, has criticised plans to introduce marriage equality in England. Nichols criticisms came following a meeting of Catholic leaders, in Leeds, to discuss the governments plans. The Daily Telegraph reports Nichols as saying ’I am very disappointed that the Government seems to be choosing this direction’. In the Summer it was announced that the Westminster government was to hold a public consultation on legalising gay marriage.

It was reported the move came after the direct intervention of David Cameron to get the issue on the political agenda. The Con-Dem coalition’s proposals follow those of the SNP led administration in Scotland which is also holding a public consultation on gay marriage which has been widely and viciously attacked  by the Catholic Church.

“I respect the Prime Minister’s insistence and emphasis on the importance of equality in relationships and the vital importance of commitment. Those are things that we recognise as very important to the health of society. But commitment plus equality does not equal marriage and the distinctive nature of marriage is something that is very important to the well-being of society because it is the foundation of family life as we know it and as it experienced by the vast majority of people.” – Vincent Nichols as quoted in the Daily Telegraph

Before becoming Archbishop of Westminster in 2009 he served as Archbishop of Birmingham between 2000 and 2009. Nichols was opposed to the change in the law that barred adoption agencies discriminating against gay couples. Nichols was part of the unsuccessful attempt to get the government to allow Catholic adoption agencies to be exempted from the law change. Nichols said he was not opposed to a single gay person adopting but was opposed to gay couples prompting some criticism.

Nichols also dismissed criticism by Tony Blair, in 2009, about the Catholic Churches stance on homosexuality. Nichols said ‘I am afraid the way the Catholic Church thinks is rather different’ to Tony Blair’s and ‘I will take my guide from Pope Benedict actually’. Pope Benedict has spoken out against homosexuality on many occasions prompting wide-spread criticism. During several state visits to various countries, such as Spain and the UK, there were protests by gay groups over his comments.