August 26, 2009

Cardinal attacks Ireland’s gay rights law

by David Masters

Ireland’s proposals to legalise same-sex unions has been criticised by the leader of the Catholic Church in the country.

Cardinal Sean Brady said the new civil partnership legislation risks “undermining” the family.

In a sermon on Sunday evening, the Cardinal said heterosexual marriage “will always remain the best environment in which to raise children”.

“What the government is planning will hugely change people’s concept of the family,” he said.

People in Ireland will now need to choose whether they will “stand clearly on the side of Christ or depart from him”, the Cardinal added.

Gay rights groups said the Cardinal’s fears are misplaced.

“I understand the fears of people who are afraid that civil partnership will undermine marriages,” said Brian Sheehan, director of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN).

“But I think you can see from Northern Ireland and the UK that it is in the common good for people to be making lifelong commitments and the state providing a framework for that.”

Kieran Rose, GLEN chair, added: “Successive opinion polls over the last five years demonstrate that there is overwhelming public support for legal recognition for same-sex couples.”

A spokesperson for the Green Party, which lobbied for the change in the law, said it was disappointed at the Cardinal’s comments.

CiarĂ¡n Cuffe, Green TD, said: “The civil partnership legislation offers security and stability for people who love one another and clearly upholds the common good.”

The proposed legislation will give gay and lesbian couples legal recognition in areas such as social security, tax, property rights, and pensions.

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