One of the country's top Catholic clerics has claimed same-sex relationships are ‘morally defective.’
Mario Conti, Archibishop Emeritus of Glasgow also attacked the Scottish Government for the ‘profoundly unwise’ decision to ‘equate homosexual unions with heterosexual marriage’ by legalising marriage equality.
In the letter published today (7 January), in the Catholic journal The Tablet, Conti also suggested that same-sex relationships should be made illegal arguing that ‘while it is true that governments are not required to make all immoral actions illegal, to many it is unhelpful and unnecessary to render moral what is in itself morally defective’.
He then added that the Catholic Church’s opposition must ‘surely be worthy of consideration’ given its task to ‘promote the moral well-being of society’.
The Equality Network and LGBT Scottish charity, has called on the Scottish Government to ‘stand firm’ on plans to introduce same-sex marriage, and not give in to the ‘anti-gay agenda’ being pursued by the Catholic Church.
Tom French, Policy Coordinator for the Equality Network, said: ‘In a free society Archbishop Conti is entitled to express his views, however offensive they may be.
‘Thankfully most people in Scotland support same-sex marriage and disagree with the assertion that their gay friends and family members are “morally defective”.
‘The Catholic Church has long campaigned against equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and for Archbishop Conti to imply that same-sex relationships should now be made illegal is evidence of a worrying anti-gay agenda’.
Last year, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Britain’s most senior Catholic, declared ‘war’ on gay marriage and the Scottish government
The Scottish Government announced in July 2012 that it would bring forward legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry. The draft Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill was launched for consultation in December and a final version is expected to be introduced to the Scottish Parliament by Summer 2013.
Under the plans no religious body will be required to conduct same-sex marriages, but those that do want to will be able to.
Religious and belief bodies that actively want the right to conduct same-sex marriages include the United Reformed Church, the Quakers, the Unitarians, Liberal Judaism, Reform Judaism, Buddhists, the Metropolitan Community Church, the Iona Community, the Open Episcopal Church, the Pagan Federation, and the Humanist Society Scotland.
A majority of MSPs and a majority of the public have said that they support same-sex marriage.