Compassion should rule on gay rights
I note with disappointment Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s recent call for a referendum on same-sex marriage in Scotland (your report, 16 July).
I am also disappointed by his recent comments concerning “waging war” in reference to the same topic.
As a religious leader, he is in a very powerful and privileged position. But he must remember that when he speaks on issues such as this and uses such inflammatory language, ordinary Roman Catholics begin to question their faith and ask themselves if they really want to be associated with this.
The core Christian message is one of compassion and charity – something in which I strongly believe. However, I cannot reconcile this with what the Cardinal has said. He is alienating himself – and the Church.
With so many facing financial hardship and a deepening cycle of poverty, perhaps it’s time for the Cardinal to refocus his attention on that core Christian message of charity and compassion for others rather than “attack” lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people for seeking formal recognition of their relationships whether in faith-based ceremonies or in civil marriage.
Wester Drylaw Drive
Amid the furore over Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s call for a referendum on the question of same-sex marriage, I couldn’t help but think about the possibility of a poll having two questions.
Ewan Crawford (Perspective, 17 July) focused on the importance of a church or religious group not feeling obliged to carry out marriage ceremonies if they have profound moral objections.
So, in the unlikely event of the Cardinal’s proposal being accepted by the Scottish Government, the Electoral Commission should be asked to test the following questions to appear on the same ballot paper:
“Do you agree that the civil law in Scotland should recognise a marriage between two people of the same gender?”
“Do you agree that individual churches and religious groups should have the right not to solemnise a marriage between two people of the same gender?”
Whatever form of words were finally adopted I have little doubt that the voters would back the first proposition in large numbers, and would give less enthusiastic but positive support to the second question.
But whether it needs to come to this is questionable. William Bain (Platform, 17 July) has made the valid point that referendums are best left to constitutional issues and changes to voting systems.
There is a fine tradition in Westminster, in particular, of leaving sensitive questions of private morality to the individual consciences of MPs.
Changes to the law on abortion, divorce, homosexuality, theatre and literature censorship all came about using this principle.
It should be left to the conscience of individual MSPs to determine the matter using the sort of moderate language that will help quell the emotions on both sides of the issue.
Tim Hopkins of the Equality Network (Letters, 17 July) elevates the Catholic Church to primus inter pares with his efforts to assure Cardinal Keith O’Brien that equality for gay couples will not apply to his Church.
Unlike the Equality Network, we support “one law for all” and the right of gay couples to marry in a church, mosque, temple or other religious building.
While there must be no question of forcing the Catholic Church or any other religion to marry gay couples, any which refuse to do so should have their authority to conduct marriage revoked.
Tim Hopkins must explain why the Equality Network supports the right of the Catholic Church and other religions to opt out of equality legislation thus denying full civil rights to gay couples.
Equality issues should not be subject to referendum and Cardinal O’Brien’s call for one on same-sex marriage is a tactical manoeuvre since every poll shows he would lose.
His claim that marriage would be threatened is nonsense and the call for his Church to “bear any burden and meet any cost in its defence” is pure John F Kennedy rhetoric.
The assertion that far more people are concerned about gay marriage than independence is equally unlikely because – unlike gay marriage – independence affects everyone.
Marriage is not a creation of the Church but a natural institution of great antiquity and diversity which has merely been overlaid in this country with a Christian veneer.
And many ordinary Christians like me are not prepared to have people told they have no right to partake in such a vital human ritual on the basis of sexual orientation alone.
(Dr) John Cameron
Keith O’Brien’s latest foray into politics is like all his others: doomed to failure. His opposition to gay marriage is extraordinary and inexplicable.
The central message of the gay rights movement has always been we are here and we are different so get over it.
Now homosexuals are seeking the concept of sameness. This should be welcomed by all defenders of the traditional family.
After all, marriages are in sharp decline across Scotland.
Anything which increases their number is surely a boost.
Perhaps Cardinal O’Brien would like to have a referendum on whether or not we should restrict important medical research because it goes against scripture or whether or not the taxpayer should continue to fund sectarian, Catholic schools.
Somehow, I doubt he would.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North