Scottish Catholics submit anti-gay marriage petition
Catholic group hand petition of 1,000 signatures opposed to gay marriage to Scotland's Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon
A Catholic group in Scotland have handed an anti-gay marriage petition of 1,000 signatures to one of the country's senior politicians.
Members from the Knights of St Columba handed it to Nicola Sturgeon, the MSP for Glasgow Southside and Scotland's Deputy First Minister, at her surgery.
A public consultation on whether to legalize gay marriage in Scotland closed on the 9 December, attracting over 70,000 responses, making it the biggest consultation in the history of the Scottish Parliament.
The Scottish government is expected to take a decision on whether to move forward with legislation soon.
Brian Henry, organizer of the petition, told the BBC he didn't see any reason for a change in the law and 'the sanctity of marriage' is something which his group 'hold very strongly to'.
The plans would allow same-sex couples to tie the knot in a registry office or other civil ceremony, but religions will still be barred from hosting weddings, even if they wanted to.
Gay marriage proposals have been slammed by members of the Anglican and Catholic churches.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien, head of Scotland's Catholic Church, called the idea of gay marriage ‘grotesque’ and likened it to legalizing slavery.
Catholics were also urged to oppose gay marriage during masses on Sunday (11 March) in a letter written by the Archbishop of Westminster, calling Christians to protect the meaning of marriage.
Ms Sturgeon said: 'Decisions will be taken in due course and, as the government has always made clear, if the decision is to legislate for same-sex marriage then there will be protections to ensure that no religious group is compelled to take part in same-sex marriage.'
Stonewall Scotland director Colin Macfarlane said the majority of Scots support equal marriage.
He said: 'It’s right that everyone should have their say on the proposals, and that’s why the Scottish Government ran its consultation – to which 50,000 people responded.
'We look forward to the Scottish government’s response to the consultation and hope they will bring forward equal marriage legislation as soon as possible.’