Baroness Williams defends gay marriage opposition

File photo of Baroness Williams. Picture: Getty
File photo of Baroness Williams. Picture: Getty
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LIBERAL Democrat peer Shirley Williams has defended her opposition to same-sex marriage legislation, after being asked to justify her position by an openly gay Church of Scotland minister.

Scott Rennie sparked a major debate within the Kirk after being appointed to Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeen in 2009.

Mr Rennie questioned her during the Scottish Lib Dem conference in Glasgow.

He asked: “How can Liberal Democrats who are part of the state justify voting against legislation which will end discrimination to one group of people?”

Baroness Williams said she has a good record in voting for improvements to equality.

“It is an issue of conscience. I do regard Christian marriage as a sacrament, and as a sacrament it is quite clear that it says it’s a marriage between a man and a woman,” she said.

Her position does not mean people need to be discriminated against, she argued.

“I’m not going to apologise. I know who I am. I’m a Liberal Democrat, I’m a believer in equality. I believe in the sacrament of marriage which is distinct in my view from any civic legislation,” she said.

The Scottish Parliament is currently scrutinising the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill, which aims to legalise same-sex marriage.

The UK Parliament has already passed the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, which applies in England and Wales.

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