London, Jan 13 (IANS) More than 1,000 priests in Britain have signed a letter voicing their concern about how same-sex marriages will threaten religious freedom and may even lead to Catholics being excluded from jobs.
The Equal Marriage Bill, allowing couples of the same sex to marry, is due to be published this month, the Daily Mail reported.
In the letter, the 1,054 priests said same-sex marriages could threaten freedom in a way that was last seen during centuries of persecution of Catholics.
It compared Prime Minister David Cameron's proposed changes to the meaning of marriage to those of Henry VIII, whose efforts to divorce Catherine of Aragon sparked centuries of upheaval between the church and the state.
The priests fear that Catholics who believe in the traditional meaning of marriage would effectively be excluded from some jobs.
"Legislation for same-sex marriage, should it be enacted, will have many legal consequences, severely restricting the ability of Catholics to teach the truth about marriage in their schools, charitable institutions or places of worship," the letter said.
A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said the government was very clear that its plans for equal marriage will fully protect the freedom of religions bodies to preach, teach and put into practice their beliefs about marriage.
--Indo-Asian news Service