LONDON - Rising up against government plans to legalize same-sex marriages, Catholic religious leaders have warned that the move would undermine the nature of marriage.
"Changing the legal definition of marriage would be a profoundly radical step, Archbishop Vincent Nicolas, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, and Archbishop Peter Smith, the leader of Southwark, says in a letter to Catholic leaders posted on the church's website
Its consequences should be taken seriously now.
The British government plans to legalize same-sex marriages by 2015.
The government says that the gay marriages would not necessarily be conducted by churches.
But Catholic leaders warn that the move would have grave consequences and undermine the nature the marriage.
The law helps to shape and form social and cultural values, the letter says.
A change in the law would gradually and inevitably transform society's understanding of the purpose of marriage. It would reduce it just to the commitment of the two people involved.
There would be no recognition of the complementarity of male and female or that marriage is intended for the procreation and education of children.
The government plans have already been under fire in Britain.
Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, warned last week that the plans would shame the United Kingdom in the eyes of the world" if implemented.
Pope Benedict XVI also criticized gay marriages on Friday, accusing powerful political and cultural currents of seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage.
The criticism came after the US states of Washington and Maryland legalized same-sex marriages.
Britain introduced civil partnership in 2005 to give same-sex couples the same legal rights as married couples. The unions, however, are not recognized as marriages.
The Catholic leaders have vowed tireless efforts to prevent plans to legalize same-sex marriages from happening.
We have a duty to married people today, and to those who come after us, to do all we can to ensure that the true meaning of marriage is not lost for future generations," the letter says.
The Catholic leaders stressed that all religions oppose same-sex relationships and changes to the nature of marriages.
"The roots of the institution of marriage lie in our nature, the letter says.
Male and female we have been created, and written into our nature is this pattern of complementarity and fertility.
This pattern is, of course, affirmed by many other religious traditions, the Christian leaders said.
Christian teaching fills out this pattern and reveals its deepest meaning, but neither the Church nor the State has the power to change this fundamental understanding of marriage itself."
Same-sex relationship and marriage are totally prohibited in Islam, Christianity and all divine religions.
Islam teaches that believers should neither do the obscene acts, nor in any way indulge in their propagation.The Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is not a sin, but considers homosexual intercourse as sinful.