Comment regarding Civil Partnerships
posted on 29 January 2002
Commenting on Lord Lester of Herne Hill's civil partnership bill, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said:
'Good marriages and strong family life must both be at the heart of any healthy society. The witness of faithful married couples in our society is vital to the common good and resilient marriages are crucial in providing the best possible upbringing for our children.
'Marriage is based on the public promise of mutual obligation between husband and wife, with the aim of a life-long commitment to each other and to their children. Our society should acknowledge on the basis of experience that co-habitation, notwithstanding any legal definition, may and frequently does involve a dilution of that life-long commitment and the obligation to provide a stable long-term basis for the healthy development of any children in that relationship.
'Clearly we all need to study in detail the possible consequences of civil partnerships but I would be deeply concerned about any proposal that might appear to undermine in any way the status of marriage. No society can afford to neglect the health of the family.
'I hope this paper will stimulate a soul-searching debate throughout our society on the vital importance of the place of marriage and on parental commitment to children. We need also to examine wider structural and cultural influences which may contribute to an undermining of the sanctity of marriage and of the efforts of individual families to stay together.'