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For a Thatcherite cleric – the ultimate theological oxymoron – hearing David Cameron back gay marriage at a Conservative Party conference was jaw-dropping, but welcome.

I agree with his basing it in our concept of commitment: “I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative.” The view that similar legal status should be accorded to gay and straight relationships is accepted by all save those inhabiting the medieval world of religious fundamentalism.

Plans for gay couples to be allowed to marry in churches are to be set out next week by the UK government, and Alex Salmond will surely bring Scotland into line.

A blanket ban on religious weddings could be challenged in court, but the proposed bill allowing churches to “opt in” to conduct ceremonies looks legally watertight.

I wish my fellow clerics could join me in welcoming such inclusion as strengthening the concept of marriage. But whether they will or not, it is coming – and not before time!

Rev Dr John Cameron

Howard Place St Andrews

I WAS gladdened to hear David Cameron restating his commitment to marriage equality. Those religious individuals who wish to discriminate in the sort of marriage ceremonies they perform should be grateful for the generous amnesty they are being given, a privileged exemption from the law they would surely not enjoy were they to refuse to marry couples on, for example, grounds of ethnicity.

Though they shake their heads grimly, quote biblical passages about men and women and warn of dire social consequences, I have yet to hear any cogent explanation as to the mechanics of this anticipated moral apocalypse. That some religious people “feel” that same-sex marriage is wrong falls well short of a reasoned argument.

Neil Barber

Edinburgh Secular Society

Saughtonhall Drive