Scottish Catholic priests' letter condemns gay marriage

Cardinal Keith O'Brien Cardinal O'Brien appears to be stepping up the Catholic Church's campaign against gay marriage

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Roman Catholic priests have read out a letter in each of the Church's parishes in Scotland criticising the Scottish government for plans to introduce gay marriage.

Last week the leader of the Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, broke off personal discussions on the issue with the First Minister, Alex Salmond.

The Church has declared 26 August as National Marriage Sunday.

The Scottish government says it is right to introduce same-sex marriage.

But it has stressed no clergy would be forced to carry out the ceremonies.

The letter criticises the Scottish government for trying to change what Cardinal O'Brien considers to be the only legitimate definition of marriage - the lifelong union of a man and a woman.

'Grotesque subversion'

The letter also announces the launch of a National Commission for Marriage and the Family to co-ordinate a campaign against gay marriage.

It says: "We reaffirm before you all the common wisdom of humanity and the revealed faith of the Church that marriage is a unique life-long union of a man and a woman."

And it asks the Church's congregation to "pray for our elected leaders, invoking the Holy Spirit on them, that they may be moved to safeguard marriage as it has always been understood, for the good of Scotland and of our society".

Tom French, Equality Network: "The letter... is part of a wider anti-gay agenda"

In March, Cardinal O'Brien described gay marriage as a "grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right".

The Scottish government has pledged to bring forward a bill on the issue later this year, and has indicated the earliest ceremonies could take place by the start of 2015.

Same-sex couples in Scotland can already enter into civil partnerships. The Scottish government has promised to protect religious freedoms, and says any changes would not see churches forced to take part in same-sex ceremonies.

A Scottish government spokesperson said: "We intend to proceed with plans to allow same sex marriage and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships because we believe it is the right thing to do.

"We are equally committed to protecting religious freedom and freedom of expression, and ensuring that religious celebrants opposed to same sex marriage do not have to solemnise same sex ceremonies."

The Equality Network, which is campaigning in support of same-sex marriage in Scotland, said politicians should stand firm over the plans.

'Sad day'

Tom French, the charity's policy co-ordinator, said: "It is increasingly clear that the Church has an anti-gay agenda that it wants to impose on the rest of society.

"We urge the Scottish government to stand firm on plans to introduce equal marriage and not give in to demands that would discriminate against LGBT people."

John Deighanm, Catholic Church of Scotland: "This about a cultural issue"

Other Churches in Scotland have also expressed concern about the same-sex marraige plans. The Church of Scotland has said it is concerned the Scottish government is "rushing ahead on something that affects all the people of Scotland without adequate debate and reflection".

And the Free Church of Scotland described the decision to introduce gay marriage as a "truly sad day for Scotland" and urged the Scottish government to reconsider its plans.

The UK government's consultation on allowing civil marriages for gay and lesbian couples in England and Wales closed in June.

The coalition is analysing the results before publishing its formal response, but Prime Minster David Cameron has promised legislation before the next election.

There are currently no plans for similar legislation in Northern Ireland.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 1019.

    #1001 - Preston - 'We have had gay marriage here in Massachusetts (USA) for several years now. The church lobbied strongly against granting equality in marriage. Yet today, NONE of the dire predictions that the church predicted has come about'.

    Thanks for posting this Preston - A lesson for many with entrenched viewpoints.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1018.

    Why would any gay couple want a religious wedding? It actually says in the Bible "man shall not lay down with man" so for any religion which uses the bible as their "book" of choice they can't possibly agree with same sex marriage because in their minds it would be against God. So why would a gay couple want to be part of that religion when it doesn't agree with who they are?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1017.

    Did God not say MAN SHALL NOT LAY WITH MAN. This tells me that God does not approve of Gay activity, and that gay marriage is a sin to God.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1016.

    The issue is quite simple. Freedom of belief and not legalising gay marriage are mutually exclusive ideas. The church should have absolutely no say in it unless we want to biblical law. Also marriage isn't a Christian product it's a human one. It predates Christianity Judaism islam and every other religion. Infact while we're at it gay marriage predates Christianity. It was quite common in Rome

  • rate this

    Comment number 1015.

    cheshamfox (49)
    ....." As a Christian I hate that this issue seems to be so important in the church, when there is so much going on in the world that is so much more important,..... For the record I think since God loves love gay marriage is fantastic and I'm all for it...."
    For the record, do you think that as a heterosexual or a Gay Christian ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1014.

    1008. Fangio

    Interesting point.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1013.

    1004. Simpletics
    Me thinks the lady doth protest too much!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1012.

    Its crossed my mind too.

  • Comment number 1011.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1010.

    I'm glad the voting up/down seems to be right, often groups like Cardinal O'Briens are a vocal minority (some would say extremists) compared to the vast majority of the population who while have no problem with two gay people being married, do not have a reason to make a noise about it in the street, it gives the Church the incorrect view more people support their throwback ideas.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1009.

    All Religions and political parties/pressure groups should stop hiding behind charitable status in the UK and pay their bloody taxes. Deep breath. Rant over. Bye.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1008.

    It is not Gay marriage, rather same sex marriage.
    The two people need simply be of the same sex, not necessarily the same sexuality.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1007.

    Preston, nobody is saying that marriage redefinition will (further) destroy society overnight. These things don't. It will take years, maybe a generation or more, before the consequences of obscuring the authentic meaning and purpose of marriage fully kicks in. It's worth pointing out that since marriage was redefined in Holland in 2001, the marriage rate has plummeted. That's very bad news.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1006.

    992 anna.

    I think it wrong that it is not acceptable to be Anti-Gay why is this so ?
    Just who is it that say I must be pro-gay ? I do not hold any firm view either way. but I do demand my rights to be against if I so choose. I should also have a democratic outlet to voice my opinion also. So I can only fully agree with you. On what i see as one of the most sensible posts on this HYS.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1005.

    The catholics do not have a monoploly on the definition of marriage for everybody. If they seek a war they will find that they will lose.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1004.

    No one will be forced to marry same sex couples. Not yet anyway.

    We all know this is just another step for heterophobic campaigners in their war on heterosexuals.

    Once this law is in place, and it will be because the gay fascists demand it, then the next step will be to force churches to marry any same sex couple who demand it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1003.

    Marriage is an institution that predates Christianity and even Judaism and is witnessed in cultures devoid of Judaeo-Christian tradition, for instance all New World cultures before the 15th century. The church, no matter what denomination, does not have any right to claim hegemony over the marriage institution. They can choose not to recognise gay marriage, however, the government must.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1002.

    How about this ! We give notice to all religions that Gay marrige is going to be legalized ! any Daeity who has a objection only needs to turn up in person and we will look at their case ! If they do not we can assume they have no such objections and we get on with life !

  • rate this

    Comment number 1001.

    We have had gay marriage here in Massachusetts (USA) for several years now. The church lobbied strongly against granting equality in marriage. Yet today, NONE of the dire predictions that the church predicted has come about. The ONLY difference is that now everyone is permitted to marry as they chose -- and that is how it ought to be. Bravo Scottland for joining the equality movement.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1000.

    If only the cardinal and his companions would put as much effort into bringing paedophiles within their organisation to justice.


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