Cardinal’s poll plea has troubled past
Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s call for a referendum on gay marriage in Scotland sadly reminded me of the farce that was the “Keep The Clause” campaign, the privately funded, glorified opinion poll staged by Brian Souter on the repeal of Section 28, which was largely ignored or binned by the large majority of Scots at the time.
The Catholic Church’s stance on gay marriage is based on a similar spreading of misinformation and scaremongering as we saw in 2000. I should like to remind Cardinal O’Brien that Catholic schools still receive taxpayers’ money to promote their “ethos”, but if he feels that strongly about it I’m sure that money could be used elsewhere.
It is also highly unlikely that people would face disciplinary action at work under new legislation unless, of course, they were actively discriminating against a gay person. A referendum on independence is a national issue that will affect the future of Scottish democracy; whether or not to change a piece of legislation so as to award equal rights to all in society is not a question for a referendum and if one was to take place it would be nothing other than a heavily biased opinion poll, fuelled by bigots and, as I’ve previously stated, we’ve already experienced that in Scotland.
I have been following the debate in your letters pages regarding same-sex so-called marriage and the furore caused since the intervention by Cardinal Keith O’Brien and his call for a referendum.
I do understand the Cardinal’s thinking but I fear he may not get the result he desires: the gay and lesbian lobby is a very powerful one and I have no doubt all its many resources would be brought into play to ensure an outcome favourable to it.
I have one question, however, to ask Tim Hopkins of the Equality Network concerning a statement in his letter of 17 July where he says: “In fact, many same-sex couples will want to call each other husband and wife.”
I find this bizarre and yet another assault on the English language. How do they decide which one will be the husband and which the wife if they are both the same sex?
Are we going to have to redefine the meanings of these two words just as we would have to redefine the meaning of the word “marriage”? I am confused. Please can we not just let these simple words mean what they have always meant to the overwhelming majority of the population.
David M Steel
It should come as no great surprise to anyone that the government has performed yet another policy U-turn, this time on proposed legislation permitting same-sex marriage in a religious context (your report, 18 July).
Perhaps this is the first time the SNP government has actually heeded the deeply held concerns held by the vast majority of more conservative voters on this issue.
This is quite apart from the fact that to have gone ahead regardless would have driven a further wedge between the Scottish Government and the various churches that are opposed to such a move.
When the independence referendum finally comes around the SNP will need all the votes it can get and perhaps this show of pragmatism demonstrates that any moves to foist further unnecessary liberalisation on society could and should wait till after that.
The spate of responses in the letters pages of this newspaper clearly shows that this matter, perhaps more than any in recent years save the independence issue itself, is still profoundly divisive and that just because things can be changed it doesn’t mean they should.
Given the impasse that seems to have been reached for proposals to change marriage laws perhaps it is timely for the Christian churches and other religions to be liberated from state regulation and be allowed to celebrate those matches that they favour in their own ways by removing their right to register marriage on behalf of the state, and leaving the legal registration of marriage and partnership exclusively to the state registrar.
After all, more than half of Scots today already choose a civil wedding rather than a religious one.
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