Over to the Kirk

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With the passage of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill (your reports), the debate now moves to the floor of the General Assembly and questions of freedom of conscience.

We will now see whether contentious passages from the Bible are to be used to prevent clerics like me from carrying out our pastoral duties to all of God’s children. At my ordination as a Church of Scotland minister 40 years ago, I was allowed “liberty of opinion on such points of doctrine as do not enter into the substance of the faith”. Is it seriously being suggested that discrimination against church members on the basis of their God-given sexual orientation is a central tenet of the Christian faith?

Rev Dr John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews, Fife

Malcolm Parkin (Letters, 8 February) supports same-sex “marriage” because “they have every right to be as unhappy as the rest of us”.

Sixty years ago, a Christian understanding of sex and marriage predominated. Permanent commitment solemnised in marriage, then subsequent sexual relations, procreation and child rearing by a father and mother fulfilling complementary roles, constituted a structure to support stable family life as the bedrock of a healthy society.

It has taken decades to dismantle this cultural understanding and replace it with one in which sex is a leisure activity requiring two or more peoplethat can be divorced from relational commitment, procreation, and the complementarity of the sexes, and marriage is seen as an outdated formality constricting sexual freedom.

The divinely instituted practise of marriage correlates with a host of positive outcomes for wider society, but, in our rights-driven individualistic society, personal preference trumps all other considerations.

Richard Lucas

Broomyknowe

Colinton, Edinburgh