As Scotland becomes more secular, where all voices are heard with no preference to any group, the Humanist Society Scotland hopes that future debates on public policy are conducted with adherence to all the facts, fairly presented.
Recently, opponents of same-sex marriage have been distributing leaflets containing misinformation, bordering on propaganda.
Consultation on a bill is not a referendum, but if it were, the charge of ballot-rigging would apply to the same-sex marriage consultation. Whereas online forms provided by supporters of equal marriage allowed dissent, the postcards circulated by the Catholic Church contained only one option, to “vote” against equal marriage – a perspective on democracy worthy of a third-world dictatorship.
It is claimed that in Spain “overall marriage rates plummeted” after equal marriage, but what is often ignored is the fact that the same rate of decline in marriage is occurring in most European countries, most of which do not have same-sex marriage.
Any proposed law should have two tests applied: will some people benefit and might it be detrimental to others?
In the case of same-sex marriage it will benefit gay and lesbian couples through the social acceptance and responsibilities of that institution and, despite predictions of calamity, no current damage or mechanism of future detriment to anyone has been demonstrated.
The leaflet from the Scotland for Marriage group concludes that “we should be free to disagree” and indeed after the bill allowing same-sex marriage that freedom will remain.
Humanist Society Scotland
If marriage is to be redefined so that it no longer applies solely to one man and one woman, then on what grounds should there be an assumption that it is solely the prerogative of a “couple”, as opposed, for example, to a menage a trois, all of whom may consider themselves madly in love with each other.
Once the conventional understanding of a marriage is set aside, there are reasons other than religious bigotry for confusion as to what is appropriate.
Will, for example, there have to be a new definition of what constitutes consummation as grounds for annulment?
This matter of marital redefinition is not as simple as many suppose, but I rather imagine that divorce lawyers will be dealing with some very interesting cases in the near future.