Swiss bishops say ‘marriage equality’ proposal ignores rights of children

Swiss bishops say ‘marriage equality’ proposal ignores rights of children

Children climb a wall at an indoor climbing gym in Lyon, France, in this June 20, 2014, file photo. Switzerland's Catholic bishops, in reaction to the country's proposed "marriage equality" law, said that marriage is designed so that children are born into a stable institution with a mother and father they know. (Credit: Robert Pratta/Reuters via CNS.)

Switzerland's proposed "marriage equality" law is an attempt to resolve "problems of discrimination by ignoring the differences" between a civil union and a marriage, said the country's bishops.

FRIBOURG, Switzerland — Switzerland’s proposed “marriage equality” law is an attempt to resolve “problems of discrimination by ignoring the differences” between a civil union and a marriage, said the country’s bishops.

Marriage, including civil marriage, “is not only a public recognition of mutual feelings,” but is designed to ensure that children are born into a stable institution with a mother and a father they know, the bishops said in a statement Dec. 4.

While the bishops’ conference supports “the search for a solution that takes into account the justified requests of LGBT+ people to have recognized their right to equality as regards matters of citizenship and social services,” the bishops said the solution must “respect the rights of the child.”

“Civil marriage is regulated for the foundation of the family,” the statement said. “However, to achieve this goal, same-sex couples must resort to medically assisted procreation. The Swiss bishops’ conference is generally opposed to its use — even for heterosexual couples — because medically assisted procreation involving a donation of gametes, is contrary to the rights of the child” to know and be loved by both biological parents.

“Nobody has the right to a child,” the bishops said, “on the contrary, a child has rights.”

The Swiss bishops do not oppose an effort “to eradicate all forms of discrimination,” particularly by simplifying the citizenship process for a person in a stable relationship with a Swiss citizen and ensuring inheritance rights, the statement said, but ethical questions related to adoption, surrogacy and medically assisted procreation cannot be ignored.

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