Cardinal risks inciting violence against gays
Media Release, 1 January 2006
CARDINAL RISKS INCITING VIOLENCE AGAINST GAYS
The Catholic Church is exploiting bigotry and risks inciting further violence against gay and lesbian people with its continuous abusive attacks, a national gay rights group says.
The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) was reacting to news that Cardinal Keith O'Brien, leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, is proposing to use his New Year's Day homily to launch a further attack on the Civil Partnership Act.
GALHA's secretary, George Broadhead, said: "These relentless Vatican-inspired attacks are reaching a level that could lead to an escalation of violence against gay people. The Catholic Church's hierarchy has used increasingly extreme language in its desperate attempts to hold back progress for the gay community. This kind of hate-mongering will be seen as a justification by some people for their already existing prejudices. It might even lead to more violence against a section of the community that is already subject to harassment and discrimination."
Mr Broadhead said that, in fact, the Civil Partnership Act was specifically created to be non-religious. "Civil Partnerships are registered in a register office, which is a secular building. The registration is carried out by a civil servant, not a minister of religion. Indeed, the Act specifically says that there must be no religious element to the registration process. So what is the Cardinal getting so excited about? Despite the fact that the media is presenting it as 'gay marriage', civil partnership registration is not marriage - something that we deplore. The gay community should have been given complete parity with the rest of the population - it should have been given marriage. Instead, the government has created a completely separate system for gay people, which is, in itself, discriminatory."