Mar 12 - Britain's Catholic clergy step up opposition to UK government plans to legalise same-sex marriage. Paul Chapman reports.
Father William Pearsall reads a letter to his flock from the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England. It sets out the church's objections to legalising gay marriage. SOUNDBITE: Father William Pearsall saying (English): "It would reduce it just to a commitment of the two people involved. There would be no recognition of the complementality of male and female, or that marriage is intended for the procreation and education of children." Churchgoers appeared to agree with such objections to same sex marriages. SOUNDBITE: Unidentified churchgoer saying (English): "It'd say it's just a sign of the times, just part of the crazy things we do these days, it flies in the face of tradition and the establishment." SOUNDBITE: Glenyth Roberts, churchgoer and local politician, saying (English): "I think that the pastoral letter maybe didn't get to the nub of the matter but I certainly agree that marriage is ordained between a man and a woman for the procreation of children." A minister from the British coalition government's junior partner, led by Nick Clegg, is spearheading the legalisation plan. SOUNDBITE: Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat leader, saying (English): "Let me say if you're a young gay person your freedom to love who you choose is a fundamental right in a liberal society and you will always have our support." At this gay wedding fair reaction among same sex couples was mixed. SOUNDBITE: David Man saying (English): "We've been together for 20 years. We don't need some cardinal or the local vicar to give us some justification for our relationship." SOUNDBITE: Chris Riley saying (English): "I think we've come such a long way in our journey, I think it's immensely sad that the Catholic church feels this way." Britain plans to start formal consultations this month, unleashing a backlash from religious quarters including the Pope and the Church of England. Paul Chapman, Reuters