Alex Salmond’s plans to legalise gay marriage displays utter contempt for the will of the Scottish people

Alex Salmond’s announcement that the SNP’s  plan to legalise gay marriage displays utter contempt for the will of the Scottish people. 64% of the 77,508 responses  to the recent consultation conducted by the Scottish government expressed opposition to gay marriage.

If 64% of the responses had been in favour of gay marriage then Alex Salmond and the BBC would have been trumpeting that the majority of Scottish people supported same-sex marriage. Instead they are glossing over the fact that 64% are opposed, and emphasizing that the majority of the Scottish parliament are in favour of unnatural marriage.

A jubilant BBC report:

‘Scotland is set to become the first part of the UK to introduce gay marriage after the SNP government announced plans to make the change. Scottish ministers confirmed they would bring forward a bill on the issue.

Political leaders, equality groups welcomed the move, but it has been strongly opposed by the Catholic Church and Church of Scotland. The announcement was made in the wake of a government consultation which produced a record 77,508 responses.

Scotland’s deputy first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said: “We are committed to a Scotland that is fair and equal and that is why we intend to proceed with plans to allow same sex marriage and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships – we believe that this is the right thing to do.

“We are also mindful of the fact that the leaders of all of the other parties represented in parliament support same sex marriage and that there is significant parliamentary support for legislation.”

She went on: “The Scottish government has already made clear that no religious body will be compelled to conduct same sex marriages and we reiterate that today. Such protection is provided for under existing equality laws.

“However, our view is that to give certainty on protection for individual celebrants taking a different view from a religious body that does agree to conduct same sex marriages, an amendment will be required to the UK Equality Act.”

The Scottish government plan to work with UK ministers to amend equality laws, to ensure those views were safeguarded and protect celebrants from legal or disciplinary action if they refuse to take part or speak out against same sex ceremonies.

Ministers said the Scottish Catholic Education Service would continue to decide on the faith content of the curriculum in Catholic denominational schools.

Protect the Pope comment: The recent judgment by the ECHR in the case of Gas & Dubois V. France means that any changes to equality laws by the Scottish and UK government to protect the Catholic Church would be challenged under European Human Rights legislation. Catholic barrister Neil Addison has shown just how misleading these reassurances from the Scottish and British governments are:

‘In the case of Gas and Dubois v France 25951/07 the Court reaffirmed its earlier decision in Schalk and Kopf v. Austria 30141/04 that there is no obligation under the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) for States to legalise same-sex marriage or indeed to legalise same-sex civil partnerships.

But it also reaffirmed that if a member State did decide to legalise same-sex marriage it had to ensure that it was provided on exactly the same basis as heterosexual marriage. This has particular relevance for the UK in view of the current consultation being carried out by the UK and Scottish Governments with a view to legalising same-sex marriage.

In the UK consultation the Government states that the legalisation would “make no changes to religious marriages. This [sic] will continue to only be legally possible between a man and a woman”.

But this assurance is completely at odds with the European Courts decision in both the Schalk and Gas cases.

What the Government is ignoring is the fact that, in law, there is no difference between, and no status for ,”civil” as opposed to “religious” marriage. Both are in law the same thing; they take place merely in different premises.

Therefore on the basis of the both the Schalk and Gas judgements, if the Government legalises same-sex marriage then it must legalise it on exactly the same basis as it legalises heterosexual marriage: the Government will be obliged to permit same-sex marriage on religious premises on exactly the same basis as it permits heterosexual marriage.

How this will affect the rights of Churches who are registered for marriage? And in particular how it will affect the Church of England and its clergy who are Registrars of Marriage by virtue of their status as priests of the Established Church? Certainly a good legal case can be made that any place or person who is registered to perform marriage must be willing to perform same-sex marriage on the same basis as they conduct heterosexual marriage since, in law, there will be no difference between the two.

It must also be remembered that in the case of Ladele v Islington Council [2009] EWCA Civ 1357 the Court of Appeal held that Mrs Ladele’s view of Marriage — “the orthodox Christian view that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life” (para 7) — “was not a core part of her religion” (para 52). So if Churches are told that they have to be willing to perform same sex-marriage ceremonies they will have little legal ground to resist.

The combined effect of the European Court decision and the Ladele decision seems to be clear. If same-sex marriage is legalised in the UK then religious same-sex marriage will have to be legalised also. Churches which perform heterosexual marriages will have to be willing to perform same-sex marriages and they will have no legal grounds to resist, since the (secular) Courts have determined that the “Orthodox Christian view of Marriage” is not a “core” part of Christian belief.

41 comments to Alex Salmond’s plans to legalise gay marriage displays utter contempt for the will of the Scottish people

  • harry

    ‘Alex Salmond’s announcement that the SNP’s plan to legalise gay marriage displays utter contempt for the will of the Scottish people. 64% of the 77,508 responses to the recent consultation conducted by the Scottish government expressed opposition to gay marriage.’

    Yes; but I suspect that [in general] people who are agin things might make their views known, and people who approve [or don't care] might not.

    ‘A jubilant BBC report:’

    Was it?

  • harry

    An afterthought [wish there was an edit button on here ;) ].

    The poputation of Scotland is 5 1/4 million [give or take]. See

    77508 doesn’t seem an awful high response.About 1.5% by my reckoning.

    • Deacon Nick

      ’77508 doesn’t seem an awful high response.About 1.5% by my reckoning.’ I doubt you’d be making this argument if 64% had expressed support for gay marriage. Deacon Nick

      • harry

        I’m one of the don’t care either ways Nick.

        On a more gneral point, the turn out for elections is low enough, but I suspect that 1.5% might cause some concern.

        • Deacon Nick

          The BBC and Scottish government make much of the 77, 508 responses to the consultation which is even higher than the responses to their consultation on Scottish Independence. This figure is being banded around as if it gives legitimacy to introducing same-sex marriage which wasn’t in the manifestos of the SNP or Conservative parties. Deacon Nick

          • harry

            Then [in my view] that is very foolish of them; taking as given that most people don’t care about most things. For example, would you respond to a consultation about whether we should put mustard or pickle on ham sarnies?

            I assume that the answer is no, unless you feel very strongly about pickles ;)

            We could get into a big discussion about democracy, but my view, for what its worth, is that Govts. should do the ‘right’ thing. That is the fair, decent helpful thing.

          • Eric

            The point here is that the concultation wasn’t a poll. These who responded were a self-selecting group. The figure is pretty meaningless and would be pretty meaningless whatever it was.

            I agree that if 64% of respondants were in favour the Government would be much of the figure. It would be dishonest for them to do so, but they would do it. But that is no excuse for us to be equally misleading in abusing statistics that superficially are in our favour.

          • harry

            One thing that does interest me Nick. You say “This figure is being band[i]ed around as if it gives legitimacy…”

            My question is, what evidence do you base this assertion on? Is there a Scottish govt. press release?

          • Deacon Nick

            Yes. What’s the question Harry? Deacon Nick

          • harry

            ‘You say “This figure is being band[i]ed around as if it gives legitimacy…”

            My question is, what evidence do you base this assertion on? Is there a Scottish govt. press release?’

          • Deacon Nick

            Every time the BBC have reported this news over the past two weeks they repeat the figure like a mantra. The Scottish government can be the only source of the figure as it was their consultation. Deacon Nick

          • harry

            So really the BBC is giving facts and figures and the rest is your conclusion?

          • Deacon Nick

            Your point is? You obviously believe that your advanced intellect has latched onto some devastating refutation.

          • harry

            No, the comment is my only point.

          • sam mace

            The consultation figures show there is a 50/50 split actually, the problem is that there were numerous postcards from other countries and the like which got tallied in to your approximation and many others.

  • Mark Thorne

    Another total and abject failure of Parliamentary democracy. I wonder whether the fact that marriage is held to be a sacrament by the Catholic Church, which is not true of the other Christian denominations, might be held in out favour; I’d like to think so, but I doubt it. If the last paragraph in Deacon Nick’s post is true, then the Church is simply going to have to operate outside of the Law. We’ve been illegal before, and we can be illegal again. Being the “Church militant” has always been conducive to increasing Church membership throughout the centuries, and is so in China and Korea today.

    • Eric

      I can’t understand how any of this would make the Church illegal.

      The worse that would happen is that the Church’s heterosexual marriages would no longer be recognised by the state. This has long been the situation in France, Spain, Germany, Japan, Russia, Argentina, Turkey and many other countries. The Church operates openly in all those countries and manages not to be an underground organisation.

    • harry

      I’d be careful there Mark. How has democracy failed in this instance?

      • Mark Thorne

        In answer to Harry’s question, surely, because there’s no consensus of opinion positively and clearly in favour of this legislation. The introduction of same-sex marriage wasn’t featured in any party manifestos in the last election apart from the Green Party (I know, because I read them all in minute detail and it took me until 3.30 a.m. in the morning). Therefore those voters for whom this is such an important issue have been hood-winked.

        In fact, as it happens I personally never cast a vote in the last election because I couldn’t find any party that I found to be sufficiently appealing – that was my choice not to do so, and was the first time I had reached such a position in an election – but I would feel quite angry if I had voted and then found out retrospectively that the incumbent government were seeking to destroy marriage as an institution and embark upon this course of cultural vandalism, where there was no manifesto commitment to do such a thing. Because I am afraid that, to my mind, is what this amounts to.

        • harry

          Representative govt. surely exists to make decisions on basis that include popularity, and sometimes [for very good reasons] ignores popularity. Hanging has been mentioned as one such case.

          Given that the whole tenor of Nicks posts is that the church is right, then popularity is maybe not the best tack?

  • Karla

    Why won’t governments let people vote? Why are they pushing this through for a tiny minority of people? I think there is something suspicious on, I think there are people influencing its legalisation with money

    • Eric

      “Why won’t governments let people vote?”

      because rightly or wrongly we are a representative democracy not a direct democracy like Switzerland. There are plenty of decisions, some more important than this one, that the government takes without a referendum. They will be judged on their actions at the next election. They clearly think that gay marriage will be popular with voters – they may be right or wrong on this. Time will tell.

      This single issue hasn’t been singled out by the Government to not hold a referendum on. Its just that we don’t do referenda in this country. Be careful what you wish for. If we were a direct democracy we would probably still have hanging.

      Salmond’s plan is a victory for religious freedom. Those religions who want to marry gay people ought to be able to and those that don’t shouldn’t be forced to. It is clear that that is the honest intention of Salmond, Cameron etc. We need to be constructive and find a way in which that outcome can be reached given the complexity of the legal system and our relationship with the EU. But we have a sovereign parliment so it ought not to be beyond the wit of man.

      • spesalvi23

        Can somebody define ‘important decisions’?
        And, can somebody please point out where democracy has been banished to in parliamentary democracy?

        My (German) Government is currently COMPLETELY acting without any public consent on many, very important issues which will have a direct impact on each German citizen.
        Sure, we’re all just regular people and not everybody is an economic engineer, but one simply has to apply common sense and elementary school math to see the lunacy in what’s going on!

        The sad part is: most members of parliament don’t even know the facts, or the numbers, or the exact purpose of many matters they are called to vote upon – they’re voting under partisan pressure and that’s it.

        I don’t even know who would be interested in pushing gay marriage during those current, crazy times. Seems a bit of a waste of many different resources which should possibly be used to solve more important problems.

  • Karla

    SNP are finished for every devout Christian, Catholic or anybody else who doesn’t want one of the most important institutions in society which pre dates government, which government has not true authority to redefine ‘legalised’ in the society they live

    • Dr Alan McCowan

      The SNP are finished? And what about all the other parties, who also back the legislation?

      • harry

        I agree Alan; the SNP will be far from finished.

        Apart from being ‘on the news’ this is not an important issue for Brits.It will be an important issue if sites like this manage to convince the general population that gays are being got at. The church needs to consider its PR.

        • Karla

          SNP will be held responsible by Scottish Catholics and Christians who oppose this move, it is going to affect the number of votes they get

          • Dr Alan McCowan

            What, as opposed to Labour, who support the move, and the Tories and Lib Dems, who are introducing it in the rest of the UK? Looks like those Catholics and Christians (are you saying Catholics aren’t Christians?) are going to be pretty stuck for anyone to vote for – even if we assume they ARE all bigots, which I don’t think is the case.

    • harry

      Are you from the USA Karla?

      • Karla

        No I live in the UK

        • harry

          I suspect if you ask around you’ll find that this is not a big issue to most people in the UK.

          • Deacon Nick

            Just like abortion isn’t a big issue with most people in the UK or ripping apart human embryos in experiments. Yes, the great British public are such great moral arbiters aren’t they. Deacon Nick

          • harry

            Never said it was right Nick, just that its so.

            Sometimes recognising the reality of things helps to give you realistic ways of accepting or altering stuff. Lets face it, ‘coming down from the mountain’ on here has its limitations. Reading a lot of posts on this site would make a 70′s skinhead pro-gay.

            Its a PR disaster, with one or two noble exceptions :)

          • Dr Alan McCowan

            Nick, I have a tricky concept I’d like you to try to grasp: other people have different opinions to you about stuff. No matter how much you think otherwise, there is no defined right and wrong, no moral and immoral. There’s just your opinion and other people’s opinion.

            And unfortunately for you, you’re massively outnumbered on most or all of these subjects and we live in a democracy now, not a theological dictatorship, and that means you lose. You missed your era by about 500 years. Try to come to terms with it.

          • spesalvi23

            Ah yes. And the wonderful world of non truths and individual application of personal moral values has wrestled down the evil reign of theological dictatorship and has given us our new, wonderful, shiny world of complete dis-orientation, instability, technocratic abuse, boundless consumerism and monetary slavery.
            And there’s so much more to come!

            Sure, we’re all happy. As long as the tube is filled with sex and football and the beer prices don’t go up.

            Some people aren’t satisfied with that – it’s too shallow.
            And if those people are currently in the minority, that’s fine.
            History has a funny way of changing direction. Sometimes in a very sudden and extreme way.
            Somehow I can’t shake the feeling that we’re on the brink of one of those changes.
            Who’s going to be and/or secure your value system then?

          • Karla

            Dr Alan McCowan if there is no right or wrong then do you think there is nothing wrong with somebody going in your house now and killing you?

          • sam mace

            An action is wrong if it causes harm in my view, however the problem has always been to quantify what is harm in the short and long term. Also an action which is ‘wrong’ may not be able to be stopped without committing a greater ‘wrong’. For instance a mother having 9 children which leads to the children being in poverty and having a poor upbringing, now this is harm and wrong in my view. However we cannot coerce the mother into having fewer children like China as this could cause greater harm so the small harm should be permissible because the harm stopping the smaller harm would be substantially greater.

            In my view Karla yes killing me is wrong because it causes harm. That in my view is the only objective standard moral law by which we can live by, which is to minimize harm.

          • harry

            Or to put another way, nothing in life is simple.

  • Karla

    Scotland: Marriage and the human project

    “We have to constantly re-propose a Christian vision of the dignity of the person, of the family of the human project as a whole and that isn’t easy”, says Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, Archbishop-elect of Glasgow. “It’s all crystallizing these days around the subject of same-sex marriage and this is expressing the whole crisis in the relationship of the Church to society”.

    Just one day after the 61-year-old native Glaswegian was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to take over the leadership of Glasgow from retiring Archbishop Mario Conti, the Scottish National Parliament announced the introduction of legislation permitting same-sex marriages.

    When enacted, Scotland could become the first part of the UK to allow same-sex marriages. The move has been strongly opposed by both the local Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland.

    Archbishop Tartaglia notes: “There are challenges [for the Church – ed] which are associated with our self presentation to the political class and to the elite class, which if you like has adopted almost entirely and uncritically the whole liberal agenda”.

    In an interview with Vatican Radio’s Christopher Altieri about the challenges as well as the opportunities facing the Church in Glasgow and Scotland:

    Spokesman for Catholic Church in Scotland

    “The Scottish government is embarking on a dangerous social experiment on a massive scale. However, the church looks much further than the short-term electoral time-scales of politicians.

    “We strongly suspect that time will show the church to have been completely correct in explaining that same-sex sexual relationships are detrimental to any love expressed within profound friendships.

    “However, in the short term and long term the church does not see same-sex marriage as an appropriate and helpful response to same-sex attraction.”

  • Karla

    New Scottish bishop could see going to jail over gay ‘marriage’

    Archbishop-designate Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow could see himself being imprisoned for speaking out in support of the traditional married family.
    “I could see myself going to jail possibly at some point over the next 15 years, if God spares me, if I speak out,” Archbishop Tartaglia said in an interview with STV News July 24

    His comments came just a day before the Scottish government announced it would legislate in favor of same-sex “marriage.” Archbishop Tartaglia warned that the redefinition of marriage will have “enormous implications for religious liberty”

    “I am deeply concerned that today, defending the traditional meaning of marriage is almost considered ‘hate speech’ and branded intolerant. Such a response is undemocratic, closes debate and is highly manipulative,” he told EWTN News on July 24

    Last month the leading Scottish lawyer Aidan O’Neill warned that same-sex “marriage” legislation will radically undermine religious liberty in Scotland.
    He predicted that a change in the law could result in employees being fired for opposing same-sex “marriage,” ministers and priests being sued for refusing to allow “wedding” ceremonies to take place in their churches, school children being forced to attend homosexual history lessons, and couples being rejected as foster parents if they oppose the new legislation

    Archbishop Tartaglia, 61, has been the Bishop of Paisley since 2005. Before that he served as rector of the Scots College in Rome. A native of Glasgow, he will now be the 41st successor of the city’s 7th- century founder, St. Mungo

    “I am conscious of the historic place of the Archdiocese of Glasgow in the history of Christianity in Scotland and of its importance for the Catholic community in particular,” he told the media at his opening press conference

    He was appointed as the new Archbishop of Glasgow on July 24 by Pope Benedict XVI. Archbishop Tartaglia succeeds 78-year-old Archbishop Mario Conti who has been at the helm in Glasgow since 2002. He said he was “delighted” with Pope Benedict’s choice of successor.

    The Glasgow archdiocese is the largest of Scotland’s eight dioceses, with an estimated Catholic population of over 200,000.

    Archbishop Tartaglia will be installed in St Andrew’s Cathedral in Glasgow on Saturday, Sept. 8, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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