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Church leaders in Scotland push for conscience clause in equal marriage legislation

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  1. I thought the Scottish bill already provided for individual religious celebrants to be able to opt out even if their church decides to carry out same sex marriage ceremonies?

    Why is this church asking for something which is already included in the bill? Is it some kind of delaying tactic to hold up the progress of the bill, or are they just stupid?

    1. Although I am not knowledgeable about the proposed Scottish legislation I wondered if the ‘fear’ relates to potential internal division in the Church. If I understand correctly that a Church needs to opt in as a Church rather than an individual minister. I am guessing that there will be conservatives in churches that may decide to opt in that still want to be able to opt out personally.

      I may have it wrong but if that is the case then wouldn’t it be an internal church matter ?

      1. As far as I know, even if a church opts in, individual celebrants within that demonination can still legally opt out. So I don’t really understand this latest intervention from this particular church, who won’t opt in anyway.

      2. Pastor Peewee 15 Aug 2013, 3:55pm

        Then what about liberals within conservative churches? Fairness and logic dictates that they should have an equal right to carry out gay weddings as a matter of conscience, if conservatives within liberal churches can refuse!

        1. According to the bill, they won’t be able to opt in unless their church does.

          1. Pastor PeeWee 15 Aug 2013, 4:46pm

            Hardly seems like a balanced conscience clause then.

          2. It never is balanced when it comes to religion and gay equality.

    2. They’re just stupid.

    3. I think they’d rather there was no ability to opt-in. The Free Church of Scotland are a dour lot. I don’t know why anyone would want to have a Free Kirk wedding as their weddings are about as solemn and depressing as most funerals.

  2. Violets 49 15 Aug 2013, 1:39pm

    This ‘Church’ is doing what it aloways does. Causing trouble for the sake of publicity! Sadly this parody has a policy of imposing its weird and twisted beliefs on the world at large. the ‘Wee frees’ blocked Sunday ferries to the areas of the western isles where they hold power for many years. They’re attitude to gay people is that they should not be allowed to live. Ditto Roman Catholics. Frankly to most Scots they are a long running joke!

  3. That There Other David 15 Aug 2013, 1:41pm

    The moment somebody includes amending the Equalities Act as part of their arguments you know they are arguing for discrimination. This, as I read it, is yet another attempt to give religious people rather than religious organisations an opt-out of equality law.

    So it must be rejected. That’s that.

    1. The Scottish marriage bill already gives religious opt outs – for religions/churches as a whole and also for individual religious celebrants whose religion/church decides to carry out same sex marriages.

  4. clearly the free church hasnt paid any attention to arguments made in the house of lords against concience clause

  5. This should be rejected out of hand it is my understanding that there is already a good measure of protection for religious nutters within the legislation.

    With a two thirds majority I think they can safely ignore any more wining from the Christian cults and their minions!

    1. I’d hate for us to get complacent and think it’s guaranteed. We need to make sure those MSPs who’ve pledged to support it actually do so, remember the Lib Dems and tuition fees! We also don’t want any discriminatory amendments added to the bill to appease religious bigots, which is what this church is clearly trying to achieve.

  6. Jock S. Trap 15 Aug 2013, 2:55pm

    They are so desperate aren’t they.

    I mean why do they need a law to tell them what they already think is ok?

    It’s just attention seekers, they can’t get enough of it.

    Unhinged and insecure are words that spring to mind.

  7. Godric Godricson 15 Aug 2013, 3:37pm

    It’s for the Scottish Parliament to decide rather than for the UK Parliament although for me (a person with Scottish parents) living in England. I would say….”No,no,no!”

  8. Our conscience demands that we be allowed to continue to discriminate.

  9. The days when people were respected because of their “faith” are becoming the days when some may be respected despite their “faith”.

  10. Pastor Peewee 15 Aug 2013, 3:48pm

    I’m ok with any conscience clause if it goes BOTH ways, so that if a church opts in, a celebrant can opt out, but if a church doesn’t opt in , then a celebrant who as a matter of conscience believes he should be able to marry a gay couple he can. Any other position is entirely illogical and unfair, and thus not truly a “conscience clause”.

    I’m sick of such clauses being entirely weighted in one direction, I.e. against equality, and ignoring the many churchmen who do support equality.

    1. I think the bill allows for individual celebrants to opt out even if their church/religion opts in, but not the other way around i.e. an individual celebrant cannot opt in if their church/religion opts out.

      1. Pastor peeWee 15 Aug 2013, 4:49pm

        So a one way conscience clause then.

        1. Exactly!

  11. Bill Cameron 15 Aug 2013, 3:56pm

    I think the bill as proposed already gives celebrants in religious same-sex marriages the right to decline to perform them.

    I rather think what the “wee Frees” want is for this same opt-out to apply to those officiating in civil same-sex marriages, for example in a registry office or other non-church venue officiated at by a registrar.

    Personally I’m happy for any registrar to be able to decline to perform same-sex marriages, but as they are civil servants paid for out of public funds, then their refusal should entail them ceasing to be registrars.

    Incidentally, when civil partnerships first came into being, some registrars (mainly in the Outer Hebrides – where the Free Church is particluarly strong) declined to perform them, so the Scottish Executive (now Government) shipped in registrars from the mainland to “break the boycott”.

    1. Equality Network 15 Aug 2013, 5:45pm

      The Free Church press release about this calls for their so-called “conscience clause” to cover registrars, teachers and all other public employees (which of course includes NHS staff, police, social work staff, council staff etc etc). So according to them, any of those should be able to opt out of providing services to married same-sex couples.

      Needless to say we are strongly opposing it and would expect MSPs to do so also. In any case it would require an Equality Act amendment which is reserved to Westminster so not in the power of the Scottish Parliament.

  12. Robert in S. Kensington 15 Aug 2013, 4:04pm

    I could understand added protections but there is no state religion in Scotland is there? They’re grandstanding, trying to foment more opposition among their bigoted faithful and influence MSPs on the fence to vote against it. Red herrings for the sake of them. We saw the same crap south of the border but thankfully, it didn’t go according to plan for any of them thinking they were going to thwart any attempt to introduce equal marriage. In their delusional minds they really believed they were the majority opinion. That’s what they are and always will be, delusional demented loons.

  13. I would welcome a conscience clause for non- believers allowing us to opt out of religious laws & observances we are forced to observe by Christian legislators such as having a right to have active voluntary euthanasia, abortion without any restrictions & not having to bankroll Christian prothelysm in state schools.

  14. magsmagenta 16 Aug 2013, 10:59am

    I live on the Isle of Lewis and the ‘Free’ Church is the main Church here, they are a miserable lot ant there was recently an uproar because it had been decided to allow singing during services, OH the HORROR!!! They also won’t allow any activity on a Sunday apart from going to church and reading the Bible, so there are very few shops open on a Sunday, and we have to be careful who our daughter goes to visit on a Sunday as some of the kids are not allowed out to play. Doctor Who and Harry potter are out for some of them too.
    So it’s highly unlikely that individuals within the Church will be required to have anything to do with Gay Marriage even if it becomes legal.
    This is purely a scaremongering/delaying tactic

    1. That There Other David 16 Aug 2013, 12:16pm

      I hope the scenery and space on Lewis makes up for the compromises you have to make because of their lunacy. Kudos to you. I couldn’t live like that however beautiful the surroundings.

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