Gay marriage ‘may lead to Kirk schism’

I am increasingly weary of Christians who oppose gay marriage being automatically labelled as homophobic.

Although I have now retired, in my professional life I was frequently called upon to help young people who were struggling to come to terms with their sexuality, and I was happy to do so.

I support the ordination of gay ministers, such as Scott Rennie, and I am comfortable with the idea of civil partnerships. In short, I am not homophobic.

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However, for me, gay marriage, particularly in a church setting, is a step too far and I applaud the Church of Scotland for taking the stand that it has.

I believe that marriage was always intended to mean the union of a man and a woman, usually but not necessarily involving the purpose of procreation.

I don’t think this makes me homophobic, but I cannot just blow with the wind simply because opinion polls and strident letters to the press tell me I should.

I fear there is a real risk that this issue will result in schism within the Kirk.

I find that a matter of considerable regret and sadness, but just as Scott Rennie has seemingly been contacted by Church of Scotland adherents threatening to resign their membership if the Church does not endorse gay marriage, I’m afraid that I would find it very difficult in all conscience to continue to worship in the fold of the Church of Scotland if the recent decision were to be overturned by the General Assembly.

I still sincerely hope that some sort of a compromise can be reached which might enable presbyterian Christians of genuinely held but differing convictions to be able to continue to worship together.

David Hamill

Preston Road

East Linton

As a somewhat lapsed member of the Church of Scotland, but not of lost faith, I have always believed the core values of Christianity to be love, compassion, understanding and the forgiveness of sins.

Yet during the recent debate (letters passim) on the ordination of gay priests and gay marriage, I have been saddened to see these qualities, with some exceptions, more evident in letters from secularists and atheists than from churchmen or their laity.

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Homosexuality is regarded by the churches as a sin, but St John tells us that Jesus said: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.”

However, the sin he spoke of, nor that of homosexuality, can be equated with the defiling of innocent children by predatory priests who, instead of being defrocked by the church hierarchy, were merely transferred to preach and prey in another parish.

Yet the gay priest and his gay parishioner, only because of their sexuality, are deemed to be of lesser worth than their heterosexual counterparts, who we must assume are completely without sin. The Prince of Wales who, God willing, will one day be head of the Church of England and Defender of the Faith, could not marry in church, oddly enough not because of his self-admitted adultery, but because he was a divorcé.

Even here, though, there was a degree of religious hypocrisy in that the Archbishop of Canterbury could not bring himself to marry the Royal couple, but was quite happy to bless the union in a religious ceremony and setting later that same day.

Surely if marriage is a step too far, then what is good enough for a prince of the realm should be available to same-sex couples.

John R Murdoch

Aldour Gardens


Irvine Inglis (Letters, 5 December) writes that marriage is about joy, love, lifelong commitment and responsibilities of raising children.

Of course, joy, love and lifelong commitment characterise same-sex relationships just as much as mixed-sex ones; that’s exactly why same-sex couples want to be able to marry.

Many same-sex couples have children, and the evidence shows that they make as good parents as mixed-sex couples.

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In their February 2010 research review paper in the Journal of Marriage and Family, Biblarz and Stacey conclude: “No research supports the widely held conviction that the gender of parents matters for child wellbeing”. In this, they confirm the lived experience of the children of the very many excellent same-sex couple parents.

Tim Hopkins

Equality Network

Bernard Street


Steuart Campbell’s determined misinterpretation of biblical teaching on marriage (Letters, 5 December) will only be convincing to those who have either not read the New Testament or are as determined as he to read what they want to read.

On what grounds does Mr Campbell regard Jesus’s unmarried status “unusual”? When God comes to earth incarnated in human form, does He usually get married?

(Rev) Dr John Cameron (Letters, same day) feels that his intelligence is insulted by the Kirk’s claim to simultaneously oppose homophobia, minister to all, and refuse gay “marriage”.

But what exactly is contradictory about condemning hatred and aggression directed at homosexuals, offering support and counsel to homosexuals, while regarding homosexual sex as immoral?

Of course, Dr Cameron may wish to define homophobia as “dissent from the gay agenda”, and “ministry” as “affirmation of homosexual relationships”, but radically redefining terms to suit one’s point is not generally regarded as an intelligent way to argue.

Richard Lucas