Sunday, December 18, 2011

Willie Rennie urges SNP Government not to compromise on equal marriage

Today's Scotland on Sunday suggests that the SNP Government will bring forward legislation to allow civil marriage for same sex couples. However, religious ceremonies, even for those organisations who want to conduct them, will not be permitted.

I really hope this isn't true. In this day and age, for the state to bow to the leadership of the churches is pretty sad, particularly when polls consistently show a significant majority of Scots in favour of equal marriage. Even the most ardent supporters of equal marriage, and I'd count myself as one of them, would not compel any church to conduct any marriage. It annoys me, though, that some churches feel they have the right to deny that right to others.

Willie Rennie has been consistently been supportive on this issue. I've been really proud of how he's happily and comfortably spoken out, more so than any other politician, I think.

He has today urged the SNP to hold firm and legislate for true marriage equality.


“Because of the heat they are getting, I can understand why the SNP Government may wish to compromise on this issue but I urge them not to compromise on equality.

“As there is no question of churches being compelled to conduct same sex marriages this change would only serve to restrict those churches who do wish to conduct such ceremonies.

“Equal marriage is not a threat to the freedom of churches so I urge the Scottish Government to confidently advocate the merits of the change they propose."

I really think it would be wrong for the Government to pander to the Scotland for Marriage campaign, especially after Gordon Wilson's outrageous claims that equal marriage would make independence less likely and might put off heterosexual couples from getting married because they might feel the institution was tainted if gay people were allowed to get married.

I hope that Nicola Sturgeon, who is known herself to be in favour of equal marriage, is able to convince her colleagues to hold firm. I fear, however, that the SNP's illiberal streak will prevail.

If, however, that does happen, I suspect it's only a matter of time before attitudes change. The awesome Liberal Youth Scotland have this week presented over 400 letters supporting equal marriage to MSPs and they'll keep their "Separate isn't Equal" campaign going.  I was quite amused to see our leader described as Will Rennie in the Pink News report.  Will is far too cool a name for him. Willie suits him much better.

2 comments:

tris said...

I'm inclined to agree.

People talk a lot about what a marriage is, including Gordon Wilson and his ridiculous "people will vote to stay a part of England..." erm ...where they will have gay marriage. Numpty.

Marriage has evolved through the years. It used to be a very uneven partnership where the man was supreme and the woman really no more than a chattel.

Men were responsible in law for what their wives did, and as such women were kept on a short leash. A woman who failed to find a husband, a spinster was slightly pitied because she was likely to be poorer, and miss out on a lot of things. maybe yes, and maybe no, methinks.

Now that has changed and, in law at least, a woman is an equal partner in a marriage. (I know sometimes it doesn't work out like that, but that is up to the couple rather than the law.)

Why wouldn't it be possible for marriage to be between two females or two males. Wilson's comment about this "sullying" marriage is just disgusting, and it shows just how out of touch with real life he is. If he had still been leader, these attitudes would have done a great deal to dissuade people from voting for independence. many would even have left the party. Who wants to live in the 19th century Gordon?

I doubt many of the churches will allow it anyway. Although I understand that small groups like Quakers, Unitarians, Metropolitans, Pagans and Libertarian Jews would be prepared to carry out the ceremonies, but the "large" organisations like CoS and the RC churches Muslims, Episcopal, and main stream Jewery appear to be against.

I would not be in favour of forcing organisations to carry out marriages against their will.

Actually I think that marriages should be held in Registrars' Offices.... and blessed, where required, by a religious organisation. Like in France.

In any case, I hope that parliament has the sense to vote in favour of full equality, because although it is only fringe groups that would do it, a least it means that the LAW is equal and 21st century, even if religious organisations remain a relic of the past.

Caron said...

That is very eloquently put, Tris. I completely agree.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails