Gazette letters 16/8/12


Though it’s understandable why lay preacher Mr Donald John Morrison ( Letters Aug 9) uses biblical scripture as a basis for his aversion to same-sex marriage, he needn’t have opened his bible.

The justification for introducing same-sex marriage is based on the premise that heterosexual and homosexual relationships are in every respect equal. I would ask those who agree with that supposition to reconsider their opinion after addressing the following question which requires a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.

Do homosexual relationships in general, which by there nature are of no importance to humanity’s survival, merit equal status with heterosexual partnerships without which the human race would face extinction within a couple of generations?

Though the equality enforcers and assorted philosophers may chew over the finer details, the only rational answer to the previous question is a resounding no.

People of the same sex are certainly entitled to live together as couples if that is their wish. But they’re not entitled to demand of Mr Morrison or anyone else that we refer to their relationship as a marriage and give our blessing to that union.

The word ‘marriage’ has been handed down through the generations to define a legal union between a man and a woman. It requires no further clarification.

Same sex couples already have the same legal rights enshrined in their civil partnerships as do married couples.

With such safeguards already in place, it seems the real motivation behind the demand for same-sex marriage is to humiliate the Christian church into submitting to the principle of same-sex marriage.

These demands are being orchestrated by a very vocal, well connected and focused group of activists who back such demands with the threat of legal action.

With the exception of a few troublesome bishops, they’ve met little resistance from a deferential church membership and wider populace fearful about expressing public dissent lest the ‘homophobic’ card be played against them.

This explains the deafening silence coming from some quarters. And while Mr Morrison is to be commended for publicly affirming his position, I fear determined campaigners will already be seeking legal loopholes to undermine the Church’s position and won’t relent in the pursuit of their ecclesiastical quarry until they’ve cornered them in the law courts. This has already happened to Christian B&B owners whose objections on matters of conscience were swept aside as of no consequence. Instead of which they were given substantial fines with the threat of imprisonment for withholding their services from same-sex couples.

The clergy have been lulled into a false sense of security by undeliverable government assurances, but will be treated in exactly the same manner.

Those assurances are worthless because if individuals in one profession/vocation are allowed to opt out of equality legislation due to their religious convictions, denying the same rights to individuals of similar convictions in other walks of life amounts to religious discrimination open to a legal challenge. Welcome to Catch 22, your reverence!

The church has no friends in this SNP Holyrood administration who, rather than risk upsetting the campaigners rigged the findings of their same-sex marriage consultation to show the desired result. In doing so they lost all credibility as a government which claims to listen to the Scottish people’s wishes.

However, it’s gratifying to learn that unlike his own Salmond/Sturgeon party leadership our Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan has listened to his constituents and is now opposing this misguided legislation by withdrawing his support.

Proving that it’s never too late to learn, Mr Allan, our Scottish Government Minister for Learning has himself belatedly learnt that he was elected to Holyrood to represent his constituents wishes rather than to act as a stooge for a vocal minority of activists.

Our Learning Minister should now share his new found knowledge with fellow Holyrood stooges, otherwise they will all learn a much harsher lesson at the ballot box.

Iain M Macdonald, Uig

In my view, marriage should be a legal and civil affair in a state registered appointed office.

The newly married could afterwards seek God’s blessing on their marriage in the family’s church which will depend on the minister’s permission.

The church shouldn’t be legally tied up with marriage ceremonies. This allows the church to be free from obligation to the state government.

If same-sex marriage is to be approved, then it should be a civil matter without involving the churches, as the church and state ruling on those matters are not somewhat reconcilable.

There is no New Testament legislation laid down for marriage ceremonies, it only gives a guidelines for relationship etiquette. The church should be totally free from any such obligation.

One reason the church should be free from conducting marriage ceremonies is that nowadays many marriages don’t last, divorce and remarriage follows, sharing in bringing the church into disrepute. The church should be separate from the state.

Donald Murray, Inverness,


Now that the Olympics are over, it is time to consider their legacy for our capital city.

As a guest of the Olympic Family, I was impressed by the speed and efficiency of the Olympic Route Network’s segregated lanes and would ask Boris Johnson to consider their permanent retention for use by official vehicles and those who are willing to pay a premium.

Their aspirational affect on those in the slow lanes could well drive new generations to hard work and consequent economic success.

John Eoin Douglas, Edinburgh


In November this year the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico will go to the polls in a referendum to help decide its status in relation to the U.S.

The first part of the referendum will ask voters if they want a change in status or prefer to remain part of the U.S. commonwealth.

The second part will then ask that voters choose from three options: statehood, independence or remaining a US territory.

Previous referendums on the political status of Puerto Rico have been held in 1967, 1993 and 1998, all of which resulted in a majority being in favor of territorial status.

In Scotland there could be a simple case of two ballot papers being presented to the electorate. The first asks whether they favour constitutional change or not, with the second presenting the options of devolution max or independence.

Should a majority not favour constitutional change in the first question, the second would become null and void.

It is quite intriguing to note how the Puerto Ricans can be trusted to be capable of choosing from a variety of options, fully representing the views of the Puerto Rican people, but in Scotland the Unionist parties deem that somehow we are not and must face a blunt “Yes” or “No” choice to Scottish independence.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh


British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) would like to thank everyone who helped free the Minke whale calf that was trapped in the inner harbour at Leverburgh until Thursday 9th August.

Thanks go to the people of Leverburgh, all the surfers, kayakers and canoeists, Hebrides Search and Rescue (HebSAR), the Leverburgh RNLI lifeboat crew - especially Angus Morrison who, although the lifeboat was stepped down, was invaluable to the rescue operation.

As was Bart van den Bosch - the owner and kayak instructor from the Harris Outdoor Adventure centre who provided us with kayak assistance and support over the two days of the rescue attempt.

All the boat owners who turned out to help - in particular Tim Armstrong - and, of course, all the children who put their hearts and souls into keeping that little whale out of danger every time it swam towards the shallows.

Sandy Macdonald (Senior Medic)

BDMLR Outer Hebrides RESCUE HOTLINE: 01825 765546


It was handbags at dawn this week for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Councillors when it was highlighted that parents are concerned about the changes to the Local Authority’s School Travel Policy.

The change has been coming for quite some time - the new policy being decided 18 months ago - however with the change imminent parents have only now realised what this will actually mean for their families.

The position of members on the issue quickly turned public when a series of emails between them were also copied to the local media and the cavern between councillors’ political standpoints and their ability to work together was laid bare for all to see.

A protest march by parents has been organised and members have agreed to defer the change until parents can be better consulted, however with all the polictical wrangling the issue seemed to be of much less importance for our local councillors than the chance for them to throw a few brickbats at each other.


Are you a parent who will be affected by the changes in the Council’s School Travel policy? What do you think about those changes and the way councillors have managed 
this issue? The Gazette invites your letters on the topic. 
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