Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gordon Wilson and Cardinal O’Brien say gay marriage may result in a backlash and ‘is risk to independence win’, how much do the SNP want independence?

Dear All

In politics, it is advisable to try and have a broad appeal.

However, like all strategies, there are drawbacks, all things to all men usually means being relevant to none.

In Scotland there are certain things that politicians should stay clear of, because in picking a side usually means alienating others.

Former SNP leader Gordon Wilson has strong views on the issue of gay marriage that is his right of freedom of speech and expression.

He has accused the Scottish Government of endangering victory in the independence referendum because of the gay marriage issue.

However, he should remember that gay civil marriage isn’t a threat to faith organisations, but he is right to protest because part of the possible proposed legislation relates to gay marriage being held in churches if they so choose.

This isn’t something that the Catholic, Protestant and Muslim communities are calling for, therefore the Scottish Government rather than trying to insert this part should drop it.

In trying to play both sides against the middle, the SNP thinks it will keep onboard both the gay community and religious community.

That won’t happen, if someone thought they were being clever in the SNP by charting this course, they are wrong.

A case can be made for civil gay marriage on equality grounds but not religious grounds.

This is because the ‘State’ can force people working for it by threat of sacking them, to conduct civil gay marriage, that tactic cannot be used on religious organisations.

Gordon Wilson has been speaking alongside Cardinal Keith O’Brien and senior Kirk figure Ann Allen at a rally at Holyrood to mark the launch of Scotland For Marriage – an interfaith pressure group.

The group’s aims are resist proposals to re-define marriage to open it up to gay and lesbian couples.

Mr. Wilson told the rally of around 150 supporters outside the Scottish Parliament that in six years there had been only 3300 civil partnerships, compared to 175,000 weddings.

This isn’t an argument I would use, the argument is faith.

He said:

“Yet on this preposterously tiny minority, an arrogant gay rights lobby thinks to establish another equality beachhead, regardless of whether this will be destructive of society. If the Scottish Government wants the Scottish people to vote for independence in a referendum, why is it going out of its way to alienate so many Scots in the Christian and Muslim communities?”

Civil gay marriage wouldn’t be destructive for society because reason and logic could be used to argue that all citizens are entitled to the same equalities that the State provides.

He does have a point when he said:

“Independence is far too important to be jeopardized by this kind of peripheral issue. You don’t want to alienate people on the eve of an important referendum when every vote will count.”

He also stated that opinion polls may back same-sex marriage but that support was shallow, and it raises questions about whether the people asked were actually religious themselves.

And those opposed had far stronger feelings on this issue, while I will fully support to gay civil marriage but I will not engage in a social engineering experiment because some people want to force their views on others.

There isn’t a human right to force your views on others, that’s fascism.

Cardinal O’Brien also agrees with me by saying:

“The proposal represents a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right, and I know I speak for many people of Scotland when I say that”.

He added:

“Marriage has certainly been damaged and undermined over the course of a generation. Yet marriage has always existed in order to bring men and women together so that children born of those unions will have a mother and a father. If the Scottish Government attempt to demolish a universally recognised human right they will have forfeited the trust which the nation, including peoples of all faith and no faith, have placed in them, and their intolerance will shame Scotland in the eyes of the world.”

The Scottish Government launched a consultation in September asking if marriage in Scotland should be allowed for gay people through a civil or religious ceremony.

They got that completely wrong; they should have left it as should gay people be allowed to go through civil marriage ceremony.

And to be fair, this should never have been a consultation, it is a matter of equality regarding the civil aspect, which doesn’t need consultation.

We have a consultation because of the religious aspect to this policy.

The Catholic Church claims responses to the consultation are running two-to-one against.

Ms Allen, former convener of the Church of Scotland’s Board of Social Responsibility, said that where gay marriage had been legalised this had been followed by other demands such as polygamy.

Polygamy is about having more than one wife or husband in a marriage.

She added:

“Is this the kind of scenario we want in a modern Scotland?”

In a modern Scotland, I would hope that she back gay civil marriage but she has a different perspective on that.

She also added a point about morality when she said do we want:

“A continual change of the moral and legal goalposts?”

Which raises the question of what are the bedrocks on which Scottish Society is supposed to be based on?

If SNP Ministers force this through against the wishes of the religious community, it could possibly affect the referendum.

Alex Salmond said something after winning the Holyrood election about how the SNP will guard the public’s trust carefully; well this is a major violation of trust.

If legislation comes out of the consultation then the entire proposal as it relates to religious organisations should be dropped.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:

“I am very disappointed that senior and respected figures like Cardinal O’Brien and Gordon Wilson could be so intolerant. We urge the First Minister to stand firm against this campaign. If two people want to get married and a church wants to conduct the service why should anyone stop them? Liberal Democrats want a tolerant and fair society and equal marriage is a key part of that.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie is wrong and clearly has warped judgment. Does he think people in churches operate like fast food franchises where people get to do what they like?

Is he really that stupid?

If a Priest conducted a gay marriage in a Catholic Church, he would be removed immediately by church authorities.

The Catholic Church, Church of Scotland and Mosques aren’t going to do this and if politicians want the gay vote then they should tell the gay community that they cannot deliver gay religious marriage because it is not within their province to do so.

On this issue both sides appear to be exercising overkill on their demands, the compromise is gay civil marriage.

It is not the job of politicians to piss on other people’s religious beliefs for votes under the guise of equality and human rights.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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