Gay marriage contributes to 'the greatest evil' in our country says former head of English Catholic Church

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor claimed that it risked the breakdown of family life, although he said that civil unions were acceptable

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A former head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales has claimed that same-sex marriages are contributing to the “greatest evil” in the country.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, who was promoting his autobiography at the Hay Festival in Wales, told an audience that “I hope they vote no. I do think marriage is marriage,” in an attempt to persuade voters in Ireland to vote No in its same-sex marriage referendum.

He added that although civil unions are acceptable, gay marriage was contributing to the breakdown of the family, which he described as “the greatest evil in our country,” according to the Telegraph.

Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor’s comments came yesterday when over 3.2 million voters headed to the ballot box in the Republic of Ireland in the first same-sex marriage referendum.

While 21 countries have already passed marriage rights to same sex couples, if Ireland votes Yes it will be the first country to pass the reform by popular vote.

The Cardinal has voiced his opposition to same-sex unions before. In 2012, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said that to redefine marriage as a contract irrespective of sex without regarding the “complementarity of the relationship between man and woman, would be an abuse of language”.