I take a break from the quagmire that is FPAS to draw your attention to the political and religious issue of the week.
In early September, the Scottish Government launched their consultation on equal marriage. This is the latest and most hopeful step in a campaign that I’ve been involved in in one way or another for more than three years, with what started out as a small and committed group of people who have been running around university campuses with clipboards and white knots, talking to journalists and politicians and the massed crowds at Pride, and generally being willing to say what is apparently the controversial thing. Although, not that controversial. The Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2010 was published in the summer and revealed that 61% of the Scottish population are in support of equal marriage and that a further 18% don’t care. A majority like that does make me wonder, a bit, why this hasn’t happened already.
And then the Roman Catholic bishops got involved.
In the last few weeks, they have said many things. Cardinal O’Brien and Archbishop Conti in particular have said many things to the press. I am not going to reiterate them, they are easy enough to find given five minutes and access to Google. They are perfectly within their rights to say these things, but, of course, that means that those of us who disagree with them are also perfectly within our rights to express our disagreement. This weekend, The Very Reverend Kelvin Holdsworth, the Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, has expressed his disagreement with the Roman Catholic bishops and I encourage you to take a look at the sermon he gave on Sunday.
It is important when these things are said that we do express our disagreement. I have no interest in letting the Roman Catholic bishops believe that they speak for all Christians, because they do not.
Last night, I sat with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Group at St Mary’s Cathedral and we composed a group response to the proposals and that has now been submitted to the Scottish Government. We are Christians. We are LGBT and LGBT allies. We are in favour of religious freedom for everyone — for any religious body that does not wish to solemnise same-sex marriages and is already protected from doing so under existing law, and for any religious body that would wish to solemnise such marriages and is prohibited from doing so under existing law. We believe that our views on this are as valid and have as much right to be heard as those of the Catholic hierarchy.
I encourage anyone who is affected by these consultations, anyone who knows anyone who will be affected by these consultations, and anyone who cares in any way at all to look through the proposals on the Scottish Government website and to submit their own individual response via the online response form.