Government marriage protections ‘unconvincing’

Protections offered to people who disagree with same-sex marriage are ‘unconvincing’, the Free Church of Scotland has said.

A delegation from the Free Church met with a Scottish Government official earlier this week to discuss the controversial issue.

Dr Malcolm Maclean, editor of the Free Church’s monthly magazine The Monthly Record and minister in Inverness, said: “‘We are saddened by the determination of the Government to move away from the Christian understanding of marriage which has been the bedrock of our society for centuries.

If the Government proceeds with this redefinition of marriage, what is to stop it further redefining marriage in the future?

“Further, having met with the Government official, we also remain unconvinced about the proposed protections or safeguards for ministers, teachers and other public sector workers who object to this new meaning.

“Even if we could trust politicians of the present to be bound by their own words, they cannot bind future politicians.”

During the meeting it was also revealed that common phrases such as ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ could be set to disappear from official paperwork under the proposed new legislation for same-sex marriage.

The Free Church accused the Government of ignoring their own consultation when the vast majority of Scottish respondents opposed the move.

Reverend Alex MacDonald, who wrote the Free Church’s response to last year’s consultation, added: “In their tens of thousands the Scottish public gave a definitive ‘no’ to the Scottish Government’s proposals for gay marriage.

“It is astounding how they can proceed with such pace when it is clear these plans are unwelcome, ill-thought out and likely to have widespread consequences.”

A 12-week consultation is due out next month with a view to a Bill being introduced at the Scottish Parliament in June 2013.