A consultation is not a referendum
David Hamill, Ian Hannah and Richard Allison (Letters, 27 July) ask why the Scottish Government has “ignored” the results of its consultation on same-sex marriage. It did not. The consultation analysis report makes clear that many different policy points were raised by respondents and that all were considered by the government.
Consultations are not a numbers game; they are not mini-referenda. If they were, the door would be open to any special interest group to veto any government policy simply by arranging for 25,000 people to send in pre-printed postcards opposing the policy.
That is exactly what the Catholic Church did in the case of same-sex marriage. It distributed 200,000 postcards; 25,000 were returned. When those and other campaign postcards and petitions are removed from the count, two-thirds of the Scottish responses were in favour of allowing same-sex marriage.
I think our First Minister has stated that he would ensure open, transparent and honest government, or words to that effect. Great. I think we all know the decision to bring in a bill for same-sex marriage was taken last year but announced as “ minded to support”. A consultation, which ended many months ago, was held. The government’s own website would appear to indicate that results should be made available without delay but for some reason the result (two to one against) was not released until this week’s announcement about proceeding towards a bill.
The Cabinet met a couple of weeks ago and the same-sex marriage issue was apparently discussed and put on hold pending further checking, which one would have thought would have been done long ago.
The announcement to proceed was made two days before the Olympic opening ceremony. I struggle to use the words “open”, “transparent” and “honest” to describe the above. Incidentally, I am on record stating that I have no strong feelings either way regarding same-sex marriage.
Why is it that some religious people claim, and in some cases receive, exemptions from the laws that the rest of us abide by?
If some religions and religious denominations cannot accept the laws on marriage and civil partnership that have been determined by our parliaments why should they have the right to register marriage on behalf of the state?
Some religious denominations, and particularly the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, are given state support to educate the children of their adherents separately from the majority.
Now the Roman Catholic hierarchy is seeking separate protection for its schools to teach that aspects of the possible future laws of Scotland on marriage are immoral.
The claims of religious groups for protection and privilege from the state contribute to social division and tension. There should be no restriction on religious freedom. Let a thousand flowers bloom – religious or secular – but in a common public area – not in walled-off separate gardens.
Your leader (26 July) claims that Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon have demonstrated “political backbone” in pressing ahead with the gay marriage legislation.
I think they would have shown more backbone if they had paid serious attention to the 64 per cent who indicated their opposition to the legislation in the so called “consultation”. Is this the new Scotland?
So much for living in a progressive, tolerant, democratic society.
As per usual, the government declares a policy, holds a so-called consultation, ignores the result and proceeds with what it wanted in the first place; 64 per cent of the near 80,000 responses to the SNP’s consultation on same-sex marriage are opposed.
It isn’t just the Catholic Church; numerous other Christian churches and Muslims oppose this.
The astounding response, far greater than that to the SNP’s consultation on independence, should let the Scottish Government know that its proposed policy does not represent the Scottish people.
It is interesting, too, that a number of your correspondents, including Angela Innes (26 July), appear to have a new definition of “bigot” – anyone who disagrees with their view of life, to go along with the government’s proposed new redefinition of marriage.
While espousing tolerance, liberals consistently browbeat anyone who dares stick their head above the parapet and shares a more traditional and historical view of life.
Concerning Archbishop-elect Tataglia’s remarks about the effects of homosexuality on longevity, recent medical research in the US does conclude that the homosexual lifestyle does reduce it dramatically.
The Archbishop does not speak from ignorance or bigotry but purely from established research.
But, as someone once declared (and a philosophy on which some homosexual activists seem to be basing their arguments on), “Don’t confuse me with the facts.”
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