Free Church voice new concerns over marriage redefinition

Members of the Flat Earth Society could soon be officiating at weddings in Scotland under plans to redefine marriage by the Scottish Government, according to the Free Church of Scotland.

The Free Church has described the Scottish Government’s plans to create a third category of marriage as “completely nonsensical”.

The comments came as the denomination responded to the second consultation on the redefinition of marriage in Scotland, which it continues to vehemently oppose.

The Scottish Government has said it wishes to establish belief ceremonies as a third type of ceremony, alongside religious and civil, for getting married in Scotland.

A Free Church spokesman said: “The proposal of the Scottish Government to create a third category of belief marriage ceremony alongside the current religious and civil ones is an indication of the increasing confusion that we can expect in the coming months and years.

“Humanists are already able to perform marriages under the religious category and we see no reason why this should not continue.

“Instead we are faced with the Scottish Government seeking to create a new category for something which already happens under the current system, which is completely nonsensical.”

The spokesman continued: “We would also question whether this category only includes humanists or will it allow for any belief? Could the Jedi Knights or members of the Flat Earth Society be registered as belief celebrants?

“We believe that once the legislation is passed the issues and complications will not go away.”

The Free Church said the Scottish Government’s promises on freedom of speech and religion are meaningless unless the 2010 Equality Act is amended to specifically include beliefs about marriage under the protected characteristic of religion or belief so that such discrimination is unlawful.

The denomination also spoke of its deep concern regarding the Scottish Government’s proposals on education, and argued that given the first consultation showed two-thirds of respondents to be against redefining marriage, the Government must extend the right of withdrawal to cover all lessons including same-sex marriage.

The Free Church added that there should be changes to the law to put a duty on schools to inform parents of lessons that will deal with the definition of marriage.