Against homophobia and gay marriage

The Church of Scotland, it seems, has sprung a surprise. We’ve now answered the Scottish Government’s questions about same-sex marriage and civil partnerships. The surprise, apparently, was that the Church knows where it is and has the courage to say so.

So where is the Church? Our response did nothing more or less than explain where we are at the moment. We restated our abhorrence of homophobia. We recognised the passion and pain innate to these issues.

And we explained that there has never been a time when we understood marriage to include same-sex couples. We have, to date, always believed that God’s will is that marriage is properly a union between one man and one woman.

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Only our General Assembly can change this. It has not done so and it has not yet been asked to do so. Therefore, we told the government we couldn’t support its proposal to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples.

We also told the government we have set up a Theological Commission to consider the issues around same-sex relationships, civil partnerships and marriage. This will report in May 2013. Debate will undoubtedly follow. Therefore, no-one in the Church should feel either triumph or despair at this time. We hope our response will help to preserve the space that we need to make our decisions according to our Presbyterian policy and the will of God.

We are a national Church. We care what our country thinks and we neither can nor want to impose our beliefs on others.

We welcome public debate and more of it. Our answers will be unpopular with some people. Others will welcome them. Yet, our position cannot be based on opinion polls.

Public opinion sent Jesus to the cross so we, who try to follow Him, will not be silenced by any survey. Instead we will continue to seek God’s will for the Church and the nation.

Nothing in the Church’s response diminishes our sacred commitment to care for all the people of Scotland, regardless of sexual orientation or practice or beliefs. We will not stop asking God to show us the right ways to do so.

Rev Alan Hamilton

Legal Questions Committee

Church of Scotland

George Street


Given that the agenda of fashionable liberalism has, for decades, been to undercut and denigrate both marriage itself and the religious and ethical principles on which it has been founded, why is fashionable liberalism now making such a crusade of opening the despised institution of church weddings to homosexual couples?

Derrick McClure

Rosehill Terrace


Olivia Bell (Letters, 7 December) appears to ground her opposition to gay marriage in the claim that “children do best when raised by their married mother and father”.

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Even if that claim is true, it does not support opposition to gay marriage.

There is no inconsistency in maintaining both that children do better when raised by married parents and that gay people should be able to marry each other.

She writes: “In general, children want nothing more than to be safely nurtured and loved within the home into which they were born, by the parents to whom they were born.” Would such safe love and nurture be diminished if the gay couple next door were married?

Paul Brownsey

Larchfield Road


Dr Stephen Moreton (Letters, 7 December) claims that moral objections to homosexual sex cannot be separated from “aggression and hatred directed towards homosexuals”.

Dr Moreton believes that the Christian faith is immoral. Does he, therefore, admit to personal “aggression and hatred directed towards Christians”? Or does he object to having offensive views that he does not hold scurrilously ascribed to him?

Speaking as the world’s leading authority on the content of my own consciousness, I can definitively state that I do not “hate” homosexuals.

Alan Hinnrichs’ ridiculous claim that Luke 17:34, (“I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left”), endorses homosexual sex is laughable, but serves well to illustrate the desperate creativity of Biblical revisionists.

Olivia Bell’s claim that children benefit most from the care of married biological parents will no doubt be challenged by someone citing one study or another.

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But, as Dr Walter Schumm, a professor of sociology at Kansas State University argues, “One could probably write a book on the misuse of research regarding LGBT individuals and families,” and “many literature reviews have systematically excluded information about negative child outcomes associated with gay parenting.”

Richard Lucas



I have no problem with Episcopalians objecting to same-sex marriage (your report, 7 December) as long as they realise that their jurisdiction only extends to Episcopalians and no further.

They have no more right to obstruct non-Episcopalian marriage practice than Jews have the right to obstruct Muslim marriage practice, or vice-versa.

Why do religious people simply assume their wide range of conflicting supernatural beliefs bestows upon each individual sect the right to dictate to everyone else in society how they will conduct their lives? I don’t interfere in how the Episcopal church governs its own adherents, so why should it interfere in the lives of non-Episcopalians?

Alistair McBay