A broad alliance of faith groups has published an open letter, sent to all Members of Scottish Parliament, demanding the right to conduct weddings for same-sex couples.
Faith in Marriage
The alliance, called Faith in Marriage, include members of the United Reformed Church, the Quakers, the Unitarians, Buddhists, the Pagan Federation, Liberal Judaism, the Iona Community, the Open Episcopal Church, and the Metropolitan Community Church.
Civil Partnerships just not good enough, and ‘freedom of belief’ requires marriage
The alliance said that civil partnerships were not good enough, are discriminatory, and therefore are “an unacceptable infringement by the state on our freedom of religion and belief.”
Faith in Marriage was set up as a response to the anti-equality Scotland for Marriage, which is made up of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, the Christian Institute, the Evangelical Alliance and Destiny Churches. The Church of Scotland hasn’t joined it but also opposes lesbian and gay marriage. Scotland for Marriage is leafleting every household in Glasgow against the proposals before the local elections on Thursday, at a cost of £15,000. They also plan to use mobile advertising vans against lesbian and gay marriage.
‘We demand religious weddings’ says letter to Members of the Scottish Parliament
The Faith in Marriage open letter, addressed to all the Members of Scottish Parliament, says that they “strongly oppose” any attempt to keep lesbian and gay weddings out of religious venues that want to offer these. The letter asks all the Members of Scottish Parliament to make sure the new law will “protect and extend” religious liberties by “giving those religious and humanist bodies that do want to conduct same-sex marriage the right to do so.”
They support the right of other Churches to refuse lesbian and gay weddings
The letter adds:
“We respect the religious freedom of those bodies that currently do not wish to conduct same-sex marriages, and we agree that there should be a mechanism in place to ensure that they do not have to. This is a position widely supported by equal marriage campaigners.
“We do, however, note with dismay that little mention has been made by politicians or the media of the rights of those religious and humanist bodies that do wish to conduct same-sex marriages.
Range of Views among LGB Believers and in Attitudes of Faiths to LGB Weddings
“We are concerned that this debate is being framed by some as ‘LGBT people vs religion’, when in reality there are many LGBT people of faith and there is a great divergence of opinion on same-sex marriage amongst – and within – religious bodies.”
This letter contrasts strongly with Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the most senior Catholic in Britain, who wrote in the Sunday Telegraph that equal marriage is ‘a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right,’ a ‘madness’ pushed by ‘a disingenuous government.’
The Scottish government is still considering the responses it received to the public consultation, and the consultation document makes it plain that has no intention of forcing faiths to celebrate lesbian and gay weddings.