Cardinal: Gay Marriage as Bad as Slavery

Remarks widely condemned, called 'scare mongering'
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2012 1:15 AM CST
Updated Mar 5, 2012 4:08 AM CST
Cardinal: Gay Marriage as Bad as Slavery
Cardinal Keith O'Brien, archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, attends a mass held by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Basilica last month in Vatican City.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – The Catholic cardinal in charge of Scotland provoked stinging criticism over the weekend for calling gay marriage a "grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right," and saying it's as morally reprehensible as slavery, reports the Independent. "Imagine for a moment that the government had decided to legalize slavery, but assured us that 'no one will be forced to keep a slave.' Would such worthless assurances calm our fury?" wrote Cardinal Keith O'Brien.

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In response, gay rights groups called the remarks "insensitive beyond words." Margot James, Britain's first openly lesbian Conservative member of parliament, called the cardinal's comments "scare mongering." It is a "completely unacceptable way for a prelate to talk," she said. "The government is not trying to force Catholic churches to perform gay marriages at all. It is a purely civil matter." (Read more gay rights stories.)

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