By Russell Truran
The chaplain of Leeds Trinity University has caused controversy by describing gay marriage as “inappropriate” and “impossible” on the eve of legalisation in England and Wales.
Chaplain Monsignor Paul Grogan, 49, was speaking today on the legalisation of gay marriage, which will come into force from midnight tonight.
He said: “The Catholic Church holds that marriage is between a man and a woman and that, therefore, the use of the word marriage to describe a relationship between two men or two women is inappropriate. In fact, it’s impossible. It’s trying to make a word mean something which it never has done and is incapable of doing.”
Up and down the country, a number of homosexual couples will marry in the early hours of tomorrow morning, in an attempt to be one of the first in the country.
Leeds City Council has confirmed that no homosexual couples applied to marry in Leeds tomorrow but there are some in the pipeline for later this year.
Monsignor Grogan said: “The author of the book of Genesis says a man leaves his father and his mother and is united with his wife and they become one flesh.
“In the Christian understanding marriage is not, and this is a key thing with regard to this political and social debate, a social construct. Those who support so-called gay marriage say that society is able to make marriage mean what we wish it to mean…
“To pretend that a gay couple can be married in the sense of marriage, as has hitherto been claimed, is just ridiculous.”
LISTEN to Monsignor Grogan talking about civil partnerships:
Emma Turner-Lindley, 34, from Cookridge entered into a civil partnership with her partner Gemma back in 2006.
Civil partnerships were made legal in the UK in December 2005 and Emma and her partner were one of the first couples to enter into a union.
She said: “I think gay marriage is a positive step. I think it’s something that we’ve been hoping for, for quite a long time and it would’ve been nice to have had that option when I had my civil partnership. Not necessarily saying that we would or wouldn’t have taken it but it would have been nice to have been given the chance to.”
Couples already in a civil partnership will need to apply to the council if they wish to enter into a gay marriage.
Emma said: “I think it is something we would consider in the future. Not necessarily for myself but my partner is quite religious, so I think it would be more important for her to be able to have the word God mentioned during a ceremony. I think that would be important to her faith to have that option.”
The President of Leeds Trinity student union, Miki Vyse, 22, has worked towards LGBT rights for many years.
She defines herself as a LGBT President and was also the LGBT Social Secretary for three years.
She has also been involved in National Union of Students LGBT campaigns.
She said: “Civil partnerships have been allowed within the Church of England. I think Catholicism’s got a long way to go but it’s starting to get more and more accepted. I think more Church of England churches are going to allow it.”