Over 30,000 sign Scottish anti-gay marriage online petition

An online petition opposing plans to legislate marriage equality attracted over 30,000 signatures. The petition has been widely criticised as misleading, scaremongering and out of touch with a majority of Scots opinion

Over 30,000 sign Scottish anti-gay marriage online petition
19 September 2012

An online petition had managed to attracted over 30,000 signatories against Scotland’s proposed marriage equality bill.

The Scottish Government announced in July that it proposes bringing in legislation for marriage equality, which will allow same-sex couples to the right wed as their straight counterparts.

Scottish Ministers declared that it is the ‘right thing to do’ in a move that received widespread support from the public, equality, human rights and faith campaigners.

The Catholic Church and a few other faith organizations remain vehemently opposed to marriage equality, heading a campaign group called Scotland for Marriage.

A spokesperson of Scotland for Marriage who set up the petition stated over 30,000 people have signed it. He further asserted the group will redouble its efforts to block the legislation.

The spokesperson said: ‘The Scottish Government has angered the public by ignoring them and pressing on with plans to meddle with marriage. No wonder our petition has now climbed above 30,000 since the Government said it will snub the results of its own public consultation.

‘The politicians should be very aware. This issue isn’t going away. The public isn’t going away. We’re not going away. Our campaign is going from strength to strength as the implications of redefining marriage on everyday lives becomes more widely understood.’

The petition states that only a union between a man and a woman can be considered as marriage and that the former is ‘the best environment for raising children’, stating that same-sex couples already have full legal rights through civil partnerships.

It also calls for a referendum on marriage equality, a demand which has been rejected by all the Scottish political parties and widely criticised as an attempt to interfere with the democratic process.

The petition goes on saying: ‘We are deeply concerned about the implications for what will be taught in schools if marriage is redefined.

‘We are also concerned that the definition of marriage may be rewritten further so that, for example, polygamy may be legalised at some future point.

‘Our chief concern is for the general welfare of the people of Scotland. In addition, we do not wish to see the rights of conscience eroded for those who disagree with homosexual marriage.’

The petition alleges that marriage equality would result in discrimination: ‘Employees should not face discrimination at work because they support traditional marriage, neither should parents be criticised by schools for refusing to allow their children to take part in lessons which promote same-sex marriage. Organisations and people of all religious traditions must retain their freedom to speak and act according to their religious beliefs.’

Earlier this summer, Scotland’s Catholic Church said it would spend an additional £100,000 ($158,000, €126,000) on The Scotland for Marriage campaign against marriage equality, on top of the £50,000 ($79,000 €63,000) it had already spent.

Cardinal O’Brien stated that this is part of his declared ‘war’ on gay marriage, comparing marriage equality with bringing back slavery.

The Catholic Church and Marriage for Scotland has been previously accused of scaremongering, saying churches will be forced to bless same-sex unions, despite the Scottish government promising it would not be mandatory.

Scotland for Marriage is made up of CARE for Scotland, The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, The Christian Institute, Destiny Churches Scotland, The Evangelical Alliance and The Family Education Trust.

While Scotland for Marriage is keen to portray their campaign as united by faith, a coalition called Faith In Marriage unites numerous religious organizations that supports marriage equality and wishes to solemnize same-sex marriage.

The Equality Network, a charity that campaigns for marriage equality, said a clear majority of people in Scotland supports equal rights for LGBT people.

Policy co-ordinator Tom French said: ‘All the opinion polls show that a two-thirds majority of Scots support equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. In a modern, progressive country like Scotland, most fair-minded people agree that same-sex couples are entitled to equal treatment.

‘Scotland for Marriage would be better spending their vast resources on tackling inequality and injustice, rather than seeking to curtail the rights of loving LGBT couples.’

A mid-June poll by Ipsos MORI have instead showed 64% supported equal marriage with 26 percent opposed.

The Scottish government has consistently that the proposed marriage equality law will ensure churches, and individuals within them, do not have to conduct same-sex marriages if they do not agree with them.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: ‘The Scottish Government is committed to a Scotland that is fair and equal and that is why we intend to proceed with plans to allow same-sex marriage and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships. All views have been taken into account in coming to this decision.

‘Our next consultation, due later this year, will seek views on protections in areas such as religious freedom, education and freedom of speech.’ 

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