The government will ask whether same-sex marriage should be introduced to England and Wales in a consultation which opens on Thursday, it is suggested.
This consultation was originally to determine the finer details of the law, which Theresa May claimed they government would legislate for regardless.
Despite this the Catholic publication, The Tablet, said the consultation would now ask whether there should be a change in the law at all.
The Catholic Church has been stepping up its opposition to gay marriage, urging congregations to protect the ‘true meaning’ of marriage.
Last Sunday, a joint letter was read to 2,500 churches across England and Wales detailing the Church’s position, written by the Archbishops of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, and Southwark, Peter Smith.
They say changing the legal definition of marriage would be a ‘profoundly radical step’, and strip matrimony of its ‘distinctive nature’.
“Its consequences should be taken seriously now,” congregations were told.
“Neither the church nor the state have the right to change this fundamental understanding of marriage itself.”
A separate letter was sent to the clergy.
In this, the archbishops encouraged them to mobilise opposition to gay marriage.
A recent ComRes poll, carried out by Catholic Voices, suggests 70 per cent of people are opposed to the changes, believing it ‘should continue to be defined as a lifelong exclusive commitment between a man and a woman’.
This was the first test of public opinion of the proposed legislation.
However, if the suggestions are true and the consultation will in fact ask the opinion of the public on whether gay marriage should happen at all, this will continue to illustrate the level of support for David Cameron’s proposal.
This issue of redefining the definition of marriage saw the Church of England named as the ‘last refuge of prejudice’.
The openly gay Dean of St Albans, Dr Jeffery John, claimed the Church’s handling of this issue was the root of the increasingly secular society.
In an interview with The Times he concluded that the Church being the number one enemy of gay people was a disaster.
A Home Office spokesperson was unable to confirm the content of the consultation before it opened yesterday.