Catholic priests will be reading out a letter attacking government plans to legalize gay marriage today (26 August).
Firing off their major weapon in its ‘war’ against marriage equality, the Catholic Church has produced the letter to be read out in each of Scotland’s parishes in celebration of ‘National Marriage Sunday’.
The letter states their ‘deep disappointment that the Scottish Government has decided to redefine marriage and legislate for same sex marriage.’
It also announces the launch of a National Commission for Marriage and the Family to co-ordinate a campaign against marriage equality.
The letter says in part: ‘We affirm before you all the common wisdom of humanity and the revealed faith of the Church that marriage is a unique life-long union of a man and a woman.’
Last week, Cardinal Keith O'Brien broke off discussions about the issue with the First Minister Alex Salmond.
O’Brien said: ‘The Church's teaching on marriage is unequivocal, it is uniquely, the union of a man and a woman and it is wrong that Governments, politicians or Parliaments should seek to alter or destroy that reality.’
Earlier this summer, Scotland’s Catholic Church said it would spend an additional £100,000 ($158,000, €126,000) on an advertising campaign against marriage equality, on top of the £50,000 ($79,000 €63,000) it had already spent.
Cardinal O’Brien is well known for spouting anti-gay rhetoric, suggesting legalizing gay marriage is comparable with bringing back slavery.
He has also been accused of scaremongering, saying churches will be forced to bless same-sex unions, despite the Scottish government promising it would not be mandatory.
Other Christians, who say they disagree with O’Brien and other anti-gay priests, have spoken out against the letter.
A Faith In Marriage coalition of religious organizations is conducting a service today which supports same-sex marriage.
Writing on his blog, Kelvin Holdsworth invited open-minded Catholics to his Episcopal church at St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow.
He said: ‘Everyone is welcome at St Mary’s. We don’t preach hatred. We don’t preach or teach bigotry. We stand up for the simple love of God.’
An LGBT charity, the Equality Network, also urged the Scottish Government to not give into the ‘anti-gay agenda’ pursued by the Catholic Church.
Policy coordinator for the Equality Network Tom French said: ‘It is increasingly that the Church has an anti-gay agenda that it wants to impose on the rest of society.
‘We urge the Scottish Government to stand firm on plans to introduce equal marriage and not give in to demands that would discriminate against LGBT people.’
An out gay member of parliament for the ruling Scottish Nationalist Party Marco Biagi told Gay Star News he refuses to be ‘dragged into battles’ on marriage equality.
He said: ‘When confronted politics of fear the politics of hope will always win. This is a classic situation when a vision of hope of a better country is presented against a vision of fear and hate, and the better vision will always win out.’
If legislation goes through sucessfully, the first Scottish same-sex marriages will take place in 2015.