Monday, November 14, 2011

Willie Rennie - Marriage does not belong to the Church, it belongs to society

I am really proud of Willie Rennie today. I've just watched his appearance on yesterday's Politics Show where he unapologetically made the case for equal marriage in Scotland. You can tell that this is something he really believes in and he argued passionately and convincingly for the change. 

He was on with John Mason, whose motion on the subject of same sex marriage caused such controversy earlier in the year. 

It was really telling to watch Mason wriggle and squirm and do anything other than give a clear answer when asked whether he believed in equal marriage while Willie was perfectly comfortable discussing it openly. 

I thought he was particularly strong on two points, firstly that marriage does not belong exclusively to the church, it belongs to society as a whole, and when he showed the difference between stating a case and making a threat. He had taken the Catholic Church to task last month for overstepping its powers on this.

For me, as you will no doubt be aware, this is about a fundamental issue of freedom - and allowing equal marriage but not forcing it on those religious organisations who don't wish to offer it is the way to give maximum freedom everyone - and I'm glad to see Willie arguing so compellingly for change. He has really gone out there to try to win over hearts and minds on this. 

You can watch that part of the programme here. 


Lazarus said...

John Mason did squirm -but given the drubbing he received when he last opened his mouth, I think he deserves some credit for being willing to appear on this issue at all.

On Willie Rennie's case, I think he confused two issues: the Church would be overstepping its mark if it thought it could stop Parliament legislating; it would not be overstepping its mark if it urges Parliament not to legislate. The Church's view is that marriage is an institution that serves the common good of society: individual societies through their legislature can (and will) come to their own decisions on what that involves -and doubtless some of those decisions will be wrong. (As in the Church's view, the introduction of same sex marriage would be.)

On the threat issue, Bishop Tartaglia was (I take it) simply stating a fact. Many (and we can speculate on how many) Catholics will be disappointed in the SNP if it passes such legislation. If that matters to the Government, they will take this into account as any political party will take into account the popularity or otherwise of its policies. Simple lobbying: no more than that.

George Laird said...

Dear Caron

Marriage belongs to the Church not society, Willie Rennie is wrong.

The fact that society allows civil marriage to be recognised by the State is something I support, but it is very much a MK2 event in terms of social status.

Could you imagine the Royal Wedding done in a Registry Office?

However, we all know what we are talking about on this issue which politicians skirt round by saying no church should be forced.

We are talking gay marriage in Churches and Mosques.

Let me ask you a question as an ardent supporter, do you support gay marriage in Churches?

I suspect you would immediately say yes; they are seen as a ‘soft target’.

I would then ask you do you support gay marriage in Mosques.

They are seen as a ‘hard target’.

Would you write a blog post on supporting gay marriage in Mosques?

I suspect you would have a serious think about putting ‘pen to paper’ on that but perhaps you will prove me wrong.

The ‘right’ of marriage in a religious church or organisations isn’t a human right, even for heterosexual couples, it is a gift.

So, this isn’t a human rights issue or even an issue of freedom were religious organisations are concerned because they aren’t asking for it.

There is no human right to force yourself on others to do something for you in this context, am I correct?

And the Pope in Rome isn’t doing to change over 2,000 years of Christian faith and belief for Alex Salmond, Willie Rennie, Nicola Sturgeon, Iain Gray or any other social engineering politician who wants votes under the guise of equality trying to promise gay marriage in church which cannot be delivered.

So, this ‘consultation’ which is a sham will produce civil marriage but not marriage in a church or mosque, although some ‘religious’ groups may allow it, it will be a ‘law’ that people cannot be accessed without consent.

And that consent will not be forthcoming anytime soon from Rome!

This is about clearing up State prejudice which all political parties supported until recently.

’ I want’ isn’t the same as ‘I am entitled to’, that is why politicians are 100% lukewarm on the issue of religious marriage.

It comes under ‘matter of conscience’, so they don’t have to say anything.

Unfortunately in this country so many don't understand what human rights are, which is a great pity all round.

When people try to be all things to all men, they usually end up being relevant to no one.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Anonymous said...

I'm finding it hard to get a handle on Willie Rennie. Most of the time (in my opinion) he seems obsessed with Alex Salmond to the point where his - possibly legitimate - argument is lost in a tsunami of bilious invective.
And then he appears on the Politics Show and talks more sense on this issue than I've heard in a long time.
Bill Pickford.


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