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Row continues over Scottish MP’s gay marriage remarks

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  1. *Peter Wishart, not John.

    1. Here’s a quote from an article I found interesting:

      “Reality means little to the religious extremist. Compromise is off-limits when “God’s will” is at stake. The maturity and wisdom of listening to people, finding common ground, and working together for the common good are denounced as weak.

      The pathology of religious extremism is a familiar story. Otherwise decent people get caught up in powerful convictions that leave no room for nuance or other points of view. The typical scenario is this:

      “I believe. I believe so strongly that my belief becomes the center of my life. I cannot bear to be around people who don’t believe as I do. Those people are wrong, indeed they are evil. They are dangerous to true believers and must be removed. I am called as a true believer to get rid of them. I can use whatever means I want. I am right, and God rewards me for it.”

  2. Jock S. Trap 5 Aug 2011, 12:13pm

    As the public support for this is growing to a considerable amount maybe Scottish politicans should act on what their voters want not on idiots who just seek desperation arguements and lies to stop any change.

    This idiot is just making a noise but it’s not of the majority and clearly he has a problem with respecting his voting public which should in turn question his position as an Scottish MP!

    1. Any “noise” as far as I am concerned is good news…Without the words “gay marriage” etc appearing anywhere in public then I can’t see any discussions ever happenning…perhaps down here we can get Lord Tebbit to issue a similar EDM and see what homophobic MPs come out of the woodwork…I’m at a lost as to who is for or against marriage equality amongst the British MPs….None of the major parties , apart from the lib dems, are very vocal and I don’t really see much progress or “noise” from the lib dems as well…

    2. Thank goodness that the LibDems have firmly and solemnly promised marriage for gay people by 2015.

  3. If his motion is to ensure that Churches are not forced to carry out marriages then fair enough. It’s against their beliefs we get that, but that’s not what we’re after is it?

    But if he’s just wanting anyone to be able to opt out(albeit he hasn’t said on religious grounds outright) of performing Civil Marriages then sorry that ain’t on. I live in his Constituency. I pay tax to Glasgow City Council just the same as Mr & Mrs Bloggs so I deserve to be treated the same as anyone else would by employees of the Council

  4. Erika Cart-Horse, QC 5 Aug 2011, 12:24pm

    Good to see that supporters of marriage equality have taken up the suggestion of a counter motion. Maybe this fuss will actually have sped things up a bit.

    1. Tim Hopkins 5 Aug 2011, 1:51pm

      There are two counter-motions (in the form of amendments to the original motion). Both are very pro-marriage-equality. One is from Green co-leader Patrick Harvie, and the other from LibDem leader Willie Rennie.

      Currently, Patrick Harvie’s amendment has 17 signatories in total (2 Green, 13 SNP, 1 Labour, 1 LibDem), and John Mason’s original motion now has four (all SNP). Willie Rennie’s amendment doesn’t have any other signatories.

  5. In the light of the recent APA recommendations and call for marriage equality, objections to same sex marriage equality can only be based on arbitrary, traditional religious prejudice or upon the inaccurate anecdotal evidence of anti-gay propaganda.
    Perhaps as the APA report suggests a programme to educate the public on the factual evidence in support of same sex marriage should be initiated throughout the UK in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to reduce the ignorant and discriminatory views of people like John Mason and those he represents who also share his views on this matter.

    1. I doubt it’s even an issue to most people, and religious objectors are unlikely to listen.

  6. Homophobes will mendaciously suggest this would allow religions to choose whether to perform a religious wedding. But religions have always had, and will keep, that freedom from equality law – hence rabbis can refuse to marry Christians and priests can refuse to marry divorcees.

    This is a demand for ‘conscience’ equality exemptions for anyone providing goods and services. ‘Being involved in’ same-sex weddings means not just registrars – it means everyone from the florist to the caterer.

    Some US states have debated exemptions not just related to weddings but related to marriage itself. Rhode Island has given religions exemption from ACKNOWLEDGING civil unions – so a civil unioned couple become legal strangers when they walk into religious hospitals and schools in RI, making a nonsense of the unions themselves.

    Both wedding and marriage exemptions are loathsome and must be rejected (except for the usual exemptions for religious rituals).

  7. Pete Wishart is an MP, not an MSP.

    More MSPs are removing their signatures from the motion though, and it seems the Chamber Desk made a few mistakes between people meaning to sign the amendments and the like. We will see what will happen over the next few days.



  9. de Villiers 5 Aug 2011, 2:09pm

    Are the SNP on the left or the right?

    1. concerned resident E3 5 Aug 2011, 2:36pm

      soft left

      1. I disagree. Salmond and co are hard-line capitalists. The first and foremost thing they care about is Scottish business leaders. They may be playing the social justice card now, but their previous gay rights record has been one between utter disinterest, and outright hostitility. A lot of their support comes from the highlands and islands, which has a fairly high concentration of wee-free scum. The views of the MP’s and MSP’s often fall in line with these people. I don’t trust any political party, but the SNP are liers with an agena, which makes them even more sleekit.

        1. Ewan, You’re exactly right about the SNP’s gay rights record – past and present.

        2. concerned resident E3 5 Aug 2011, 5:28pm

          woefully out of date. The SNP are now the biggest party in most regions of scotland and like Labour they have a mixed history on gay rights. As a party in government they have little choice over having dealings with industry. And I write that as a Labour member who has little truck with the SNP. But at least be fair in your accusations. Salmond and the 79 group are unquestionably of the left and the y utterly vanquished the soft right absolutist nationalists back in the 1980s.

          1. It’s not just the SNP’s history of gay rights that is mixed – they still send out mixed messages on the issue at present. They are funded by a major homophobe and see nothing wrong with that. They woudn’t dare take money from someone who held equivalent racist views. They went to an awful lot of bother to help a single catholic adoption agency in Glasgow to avoid having to comply with the Sexual Orientation Regulations that the UK government brought in in 2007. Wouldn’t it have been easier, and the right thing to do, to simply comply with the equality legislation? Roseanna Cunningham was given a ministerial job after she tried to make it illegal for gay couples to adopt. Being a homophobe is obviously no barrier to ministerial office in the SNP. It took them 4 months to discipline that Borders Councillor who made homophobic remarks on radio. Even then, he only got a 6 month suspension. I bet he’d have been kicked out of the SNP if he’d made racist comments instead.

          2. And they are just the examples of homophobia I could fit in to my last comment. As EwanS says, the SNP’s commitment to gay rights ranges from disinterest at best, to outright homophobia at worst. There’s obviously not enough votes in the gay community for them to concern themselves with gay rights. As for the other parties, I don’t claim any of them are better or worst, but the SNP are in government at the moment and that’s why I’m focusing on them.

          3. You and I clearly have radically different ideas of what constitutes left-wing.

          4. EwanS – It wasn’t me who disagreed with you, it was Concerned Resident E3.

          5. Ignore my post above, I’ve just realised EwanS was replying to Concerned Resident E3 and not me!

    2. Tim Roll-Pickering 5 Aug 2011, 2:48pm

      The SNP is generally Scottish nationalist first and then officially soft left but the party’s ideology and record is somewhat convoluted both by history and by the debate on the best route to independence. There’s also some divergence by locality.

      1. The SNP will change their priorities and principles at the drop of a hat for votes, money or power. Just look at the way they dropped their bus re-regulation policy when that bus wanker Souter gave them half a million quid. It had been in their manifesto in the 2003 election and was voted on by the party membership, at the October 2006 party conference, to be in the 2007 manifesto. Souter gave them the money in March 2007 and when the manifesto was published in April 2007, it had mysteriously been dropped.

  10. concerned resident E3 5 Aug 2011, 2:40pm

    there are now five additional SNP MSPs supporting this ammendment. these are: Bill Walker, Dennis Robertson, Gil Paterson, Richard Lyle and Mike MacKenzie

  11. Pavlos, excellent point, although I think the British public by and large believes in live and let live in spite of these religious nutters. The UK is not that religious anyway compared to other countries. Regular worship is declining in the UK, a lot faster than in most other countries. The British public is a lot more sophisticated than we give it credit for. I think we’ll win this one, inevitable.

    1. Paul Kirwan 5 Aug 2011, 10:16pm

      Absolutely. All that is needed is continual, unemotional pressure on our politicians.

      We already hold the moral ground.

  12. You have to get rid of and overhaul bigots, you cannot have racists and bigots in the mp or any other area that is suppose to be their for the people and is a discriminator and a human rights abuser, a person that does not stand for equal rights is part of the evil that abraham lincoln shined a light on when they discriminated and still do against even white women and all women, and minoritees, if you allow biggots to sow evil abuses in our nation all he people women white and all and all minorites everywhere will be dangeraously effected by their evil dark and dangerous souls , you must stand on humanity and fire and remove mps and other officials who threaten the peace and humanityi of families everywhere, they are acts of terroism against families out of personal jealousy and intimidations, many of these same men have been caught with there pants down sneaking around trying to have sex with the same gay people they discriminate against and more media needs to catch more of these.

  13. I really have no problem with religious organisations being able to legally declined to perform a same sex marriage. I am not Roman Catholic, if I rocked up to a catholic church and asked the Priest to marry me to a man, he is allowed to say no as I am not of that faith. I am not Jewish, if I rocked up to a synagogue and asked to be married there, they would be within their rights to say no… I have no issue with churches refusing me. I DO have a problem with the State and the law refusing me. For those that are religious there are denominations that will accept them (or at least, take their money like the CoE did when my profoundly atheist brother married his 7th Day Adventist wife). Go and worship, spend your money and marry with those that accept and embrace you, they do exist. Let the others fester and crumble in to antiquity.

  14. Pete Wishart’s claim to feel passionately about equality issues is rather undermined by the SNP’s eagerness to be funded by the biggest homophobe in Scotland.

    1. To be fair, they have also been left £1,000,000 by poet Edwin Morgan (who was gay) and it is believed that this money will be used by the SNP to fight the independence campaign. Hopefully this means they won’t rely on funding from Souter in the future.

      1. The fact Edwin Morgan left them £1 million quid doesn’t cancel out the fact that they happily accept money from a homophobe whose views would be considered unnacceptable if they were about race, for example. The SNP wouldn’t even think of accepting money from someone who was as openly racist as Souter is homophobic. It shows that they don’t think homophobia is as serious as racism. It’s digusting.

      2. And not one person in the SNP has ever spoken out about the party accepting Souter’s money, even gay people in the SNP keep quiet about it. What does that say about them? They’d rather keep quiet and take that disgusting homophobe’s money than stand up for what’s right. I hope they can look themselves in the mirror.

        1. They’re career politicians. These vile weasles would sell their grannies to climb atop of the slippery gangf-ck of power. They think nothing of selling out their own kind.

  15. Raymond A. Weaver 5 Aug 2011, 5:27pm

    One way to solve the problem of Churches not wanting to officiate at gay weddings is to remove Churches from acting as agents of the State in the matter. All legal marriages should be civil marriages, performed by Civil Servants. If the participants in a wedding want a ceremony in Church, it should be only a blessing of the Union by the Church and come after the civil ceremony. It would have no legal civil standing.

    1. Quite right, Raymond!

  16. James Gunn 5 Aug 2011, 5:42pm

    Patrick Harvie, Green MSP, is bisexual, not gay :)

    1. And he is as much use as an ashy tray on a bike…i’ve heard him speak a few times and what a total waste of space this man is as a MSP…….

  17. Charlie-o 5 Aug 2011, 6:30pm

    Beyond the SNP issues, I’m wondering that if in general, nationalist/separatist groups exhibit more pronounced homophobia than the entities from which they want to separate. That’s certainly true for the Northern League in Italy, but I think not for the Catalan separatist movement. Any thoughts/examples on this?

    1. There are two main veins of nationalism, if you want to over simplify. There is exclusive nationalism (those like the BNP, or the Northern League) which is sometimes known as ethnic nationalism. These tend to be the extreme right wing sort of groups, with an emphasis on people’s background and identity – so for example, the BNP would like white, christian members.

      Then there is inclusive, or civic nationalism. These tend to be left of centre, social democratic movements, as can be found in the EFA in Europe or many of the Quebecois movements or the like. This is where the SNP fits in, wanting independence for the people of Scotland, no matter where they come from. That’s why the SNP have more gay MSPs than the other parties, and have had more from ethnic minorities, or from minority religions – it’s a broad kirk of folk with one collective ideal.

      1. Charlie-o 8 Aug 2011, 5:45pm

        Thanks, Gregor. You gave me an interesting perspective, and I appreciate it!

  18. Andrew in Oz 5 Aug 2011, 7:15pm

    I wonder what would happen if Gay people started having nothing to do with Straight weddings! Would they exist any more? :)

  19. If a slight change is made to the motion, it would read:

    “While some in society approve of mixed race sexual relationships, others do not agree with them … No person or organisation should be forced to be involved in or to approve of mixed race marriages.”

    Now, if he’d tabled that motion, everybody would be screaming for his head because it’s pure racism. I think the people who are misguided enough to support him should give that some thought before the actual voting.

    1. You’re exactly right, Doreen. Sadly homophobia is not taken as seriously as racism, in society in general, but particularly within the SNP. Would Humza Yousaf, an Asian SNP MSP sit back and say nothing if anyone in the party was racist? NO. Yet there are something like 3 gay MSPs in the SNP and a gay MEP too, yet they all say nothing about the homophobia that goes on in the party – such as Souter’s funding of the party and Roseanna Cunningham and her adoption ammendment or the SNP helping that catholic adoption agency in Glasgow to get around the equality legislation. Have they no self respect? Why don’t they stand up for themselves and every gay person in Scotland?

  20. Archie Kane 6 Aug 2011, 12:50am

    I don’t suppose Sir Brian Souter’s financial support of the SNP comes without a price. Perhaps we are now starting to see that price exacted on the SNP. Shameful and hateful behaviour on the part of John Mason.

    1. There already was a price when they dropped their bus re-regulation policy a month after he gave them half a million quid in 2007. It was a long-standing policy which had been in their 2003 manifesto. The SNP membership voted on it to be in the 2007 manifesto at their October 2006 party conference. Souter donated the money in March 2007 and the manifesto was published in April with no mention of the bus re-regulation policy. Now while that is not a gay issue, it certainly shows that the SNP are quite willing to drop or form policy to suit that bus wanker. As we are all aware of his views on gay people, it is a legitimate question to ask if the SNP would ever form policy on gay matters to suit him.

  21. Please do not Judge the SNP by John Mason, he always is on a personal crusade of hate towards gay people. He did it last time in Westminster and is doing it again now in Edinburgh. The seat he had been given was not supposed to be winnable – but ha ho thanks Labour – even though I am an SNP member I would have voted against him as I wonder if he would not stop until we are all in concentration camps.

    1. But if he’s always on a crusade against gay people, as you say, then why don’t the SNP kick him out of the party? Their code of conduct for members forbids discrimnation on the grounds of sexual orientation. It’s not that people are judging the SNP by John Mason, they’re judging the SNP on their willingness to let a homophobe like him be in the party in the first place. Just imagine if he’d made offensive racist or anti-Semitic remarks, I’m sure the SNP would have hesitated to kick him out, yet when it’s homophobic remarks, they keep quiet about it. Signing an opposing motion is one thing, but where are the SNP voices asking for his expulsion from the party? There are none.

      1. My comment above should say that the SNP would NOT have hesitated to kick John Mason out of the party if he’d been racist or anti-Semitic.

  22. The SNP need to get rid of people like this!! It tarnishes the whole party. On previous SNP related stories, a lot of people have defended them stating that on the whole the SNP is largely pro-gay. Well, they can prove it by publically condemning this guy. Why don’t they stand up and say that people who hold views like this are not welcome in the party. It is not a conscience issue or a freedom of speech issue. No-one would stand up in the Scottish Parliament and table a motion saying this sort of thing about any other minority group. So why do so many apologists for the SNP defend this guy and the SNP. It doesn’t matter if every other SNP MSP votes against him. What matters is that the SNP and it’s supporters are happy to have a homophobe amongst their ranks. Makes me realise just what a utopia an independent Scotland would be! NOT.

    1. Gerry is absoutely right, the SNP need to get rid of all the homophobes, like John Mason and Roseanna Cunningham, and stop accepting Souter’s money. Until they do, no amount of gay SNP MSPs, or no matter how many SNP MSPs sign Patrick Harvie’s counter-motion are going to make up for it or balance it out. Homophobia is wrong and it can’t be tolerated in any form.

  23. Why have more SNP members signed Patrick Harvie’s motion than anyone else?

    Where is the Labour/Tory/Liberal support for marriage equality??

    1. I think the point people like Gerry (and me) is making is that while many SNP MSPs have signed Patrick Harvie’s motion and are gay-friendly – they support gay-marriage for example – and as you have said yourself, there are more gay MSPs in the SNP than any other party, that doesn’t negate the fact the SNP willingly accept money from a known, vile homophobe. How can these two things sit together? Why don’t the gay and gay-friendly memebers of the SNP all get together and say to the leadership that they won’t put up with it anymore? Why does the SNP happily let people like John Mason be in the party when they wouldn’t let someone who is openly racist or anti-Semitic be in the party? As for the other parties, according to the Scottish Youth Parliament webstie, the SNP is the only party of the main 4 who doesn’t have a policy on marrige equality. Read the 2nd last paragraph titled “Political Support”.

      1. How can a gay SNP MSP justify being in a party which is funded by a homophobe and when other things go on which suggest a willingness to turn a blind eye to homophobia? How can they sit in the chamber next to Roseanna Cunningham knowing she thinks they shouldn’t be allowed to adopt children and they are “against 1000 years of nature’s design.” Salmond made her a minister after she done this! Salmond and Fiona Hyslop also put the right of a single catholic adoption agency above the rights of gay people to equality – a situtation which still stands today. I’d have a lot of respect for the SNP members who are gay or gay-friendly if they spoke out about things like this. Why don’t they? The SNP is supposed to be a democratic party not a dictatorship. I used to vote SNP religiously, since I was 18. I stopped when they accepted Souter’s money in 2007. That alone was too much for me, as a gay man.

        1. My comment above should say that Alex Salmond and Fiona Hyslop put the right (of a single catholic adoption agency in Glasgow) to discriminate against gay people above the right to equality for gay people, and they went to an awful lot of trouble to do so – wouldn’t it have been easier and the right thing to do to simply comply with the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation Regulations) 2007 which made it illegal to refuse to provide service to gay people? This adoption agency can, to this day, legally refuse service to gay people. When it comes down to a choice between religion and gay equality, the SNP choose religion. Even on same-sex marriage, Alex Salmond said in this interview before the election that he was only in favour of it if religions were not forced to carry out ceremonies. Not far off what John Mason said, come to think of it.

          1. And remember, on the issue of catholic adoption agencies, Alex Salmond wanted a complete exemption (not just a temporary one) for all of them from the SORs so they wouldn’t have to provide service to gay people at all – which the British government refused, seeing as it was reserved law. So the SNP had no problem intervening in a reserved law to stop ful equality for gay people from happening yet they repeatedly refused to legislate for marriage equality during their first term even though it was a devolved matter, saying that it would cause problems with reserved tax laws. It’s just double standards and shows the SNP puts the right of a religion to discriminate against gay people above gay equality.

    2. @ Gregor. Do you condemn John Mason for doing this? Do you fervently hope that the SNP leadership pull the rug out from under his homophobic feet and kick him out of the party? If the answer to the above is no, then why do you accept being a 2nd class citizen? Why do you hate yourself so much that you feel it is acceptable for people to treat you this way? ( I have presumed you are gay).

  24. Raymond….France leads on that one, civil marriage for all, religious solemnization optional. Civilised I call it. You would think France would have legalised same-sex marriage before anybody else with that system of marriage in place.

  25. How and why can gay and/gay friendly MP’s of the SNP turn a blind eye to obvious signs of homophobia in their party?

    Fair question, I would say.

    1. Yes Jonpol, that’s exactly what I keep asking and I never get an answer!

    2. And as I said earlier. They’re politicians. Parasites. They exist to further the needs of the privilaged. They don’t care.

      1. Thanks for your answer, EwanS, you’re quite right, of course. But I really would like an answer from somone in the SNP. They can’t answer it, though, not without admitting the party is homophobic. And the blindly loyal SNP supporters would never do that. I often wonder just what it would take for them to say enough is enough and actually start to challenge the party leadership on it’s homophobia. As I said in an earlier post, the SNP is supposed to be a democratic party, not a dictatorship, so surely it can handle this subject being raised?

  26. Tim Hopkins 7 Aug 2011, 11:08am

    SNP MEP Alyn Smith has a comment article in today’s Scotland on Sunday newspaper, in favour of marriage equality and opposing John Mason’s motion:

    1. Alyn Smith, who I believe is gay, says in the article that he doesn’t tolerate discrimination and that he demands equality. If that is the case then why does he say nothing about Souter funding the SNP? Or Roseanna Cunningham tabling a discrimantory ammendment against gay people during the adoption debate and later being made a minister in the Scottish Government by Alex Salmond? Or that the SNP put the right of a religion to discriminate against gay people above gay equality when they helped the catholic adoption agency in Glasgow to get around the SORs? Why doesn’t he speak out about this? By not doing so he IS accepting being discriminated against and he IS accepting that’s he’s unequal. Time and time again the SNP have shown themselves at best willing to turn a blind eye to homophbobia, and at worst actually to perpetrate it. When I wrote to Alyn Smith about the catholic adoption agency, as one of my MEPs, he didn’t even bother to reply.

      1. All instances of homophobia must be challenged, not just some of them. Either Alyn Smith is too scared for his own job and position in the party to stand up for every instance of homophobia or he’s happy for them to continue. How can he sit at a party meeting beside Roseanna Cunningham or Fiona Hyslop who both discriminated against gay people (Hyslop was the one who helped the catholic adoption agency), knowing what they think of him? If anyone tries to say they aren’t homophobes then why did they do what they did? When Alex Salmond was asked in a tv interview in 2007 if he’d thought about it before accepting Souter’s money, he replied, “Not for a second.” That’s how much the SNP leadership cares about gay people. How can Alyn Smith look himself in the mirror knowing he accepts all this.

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