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Gay marriage: churches which opt out could lose ‘Big Society’ role, Roman Catholic bishops fear

By John Bingham, Telegraph

CHURCHES which opt out of performing gay marriages could be punished by being refused funding or frozen out of running local projects, Roman Catholic bishops believe.

Faith schools could also be “compelled” to teach a definition of marriage which goes against Church teachings and individual teachers could see their freedom of expression curbed, they say.

The warning comes in an official submission to MPs on behalf of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales ahead of a vote next week on Government plans to allow gay couples to marry.

They also say the bill would make a more complete separation of church and state in the UK “almost inevitable”, with “profound implications” for the future.

But the seven-page document also offers an olive branch to the gay community, acknowledging same-sex couples as good parents who provide “loving and caring homes”.

The recognition follows the closure of the last Catholic adoption agencies in Britain which objected to placing children with same-sex couples.

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