An anti-marriage equality petition criticised by rights groups for its “outdated, inaccurate and homophobic” views has been put on hold by the Scottish Government until it publishes the results of its consultation.
The petition titled ‘Preserving Marriage’ was submitted to the Scottish Parliament by Amy King, and claims that same-sex couples should not have equal rights to marry because of “poor social outcomes for homosexual adults” including “higher rates of domestic violence, suicide, STDs, and mental illness.”
King writes: “Marriage should not be redefined for the whole of society given the tiny percentage of society actually affected by the issue.”
She argues that if equal marriage is introduced, Scottish society could then be subject to the “sexual chaos” of polygamy.
Referring to a “plethora” of studies “too lengthy” to list, referenced in a book called Stand for the Family by Sharon Slater, King says marriage should be reserved for straight couples for the benefit of children.
The petition refers to evidence of the benefits of having married parents and King contends that the “clearly documented poor social outcomes” experienced gays mean they should not be “assumed” to be as capable at parenting as straight people.
The argument bears hallmarks of that employed by the Scottish Catholic Church last year.
The Church argued that, among other reasons to oppose equal marriage, “exceptionally hazardous” gay relationships lead to shorter life expectancies for gays.
An investigation by PinkNews.co.uk revealed the evidence relied on by the Church included a study that had been discredited by its own authors for this purpose ten years ago and a paper written by the founder of the Family Research Institute, which is designated a hate group in the US.
King’s petition was considered by the Public Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament yesterday, who decided to put it on hold.
It had received 2,853 signatures today on an e-petition site, though the Scottish government only requires one signature to trigger a debate.
The Public Petitions Committee in Holyrood confirmed today the petition was to be put on hold until the Scottish government publishes the results of its gay marriage consultation.
In response to the petition, Tom French, Policy Coordinator for the Equality Network said; “The derogatory views expressed in this petition are outdated, inaccurate and homophobic. If similar claims were made on the basis of race they would rightly be condemned as racist, and I have no doubt that most people will find such claims against LGBT people equally appalling.”
“We welcome Scottish Government proposals to lift the ban on same-sex marriage. For us this is a simple issue of love and equality. We believe that loving same-sex couples are entitled to equal treatment under the law and in society.”
The Scottish Government public consultation on same-sex marriage closed on 9 December. Over 70,000 responses were received, making it the biggest consultation since the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999. The Government is expected to announce its intentions once the consultation analysis is published in May.
Video footage of the Public Petitions Committee can be seen on the Scottish government’s website here.