Muslim leaders in Scotland’s biggest city say gay marriage is an ‘attack’ on Islam.
The Council of Glasgow Imams issued a ‘resolution opposing same-sex marriage’ at the city's Central Mosque, which claimed the main purpose of marriage is ‘the procreation of children’.
They added that the government’s plans were an ‘attack’ on their faith and fundamental beliefs.
The message, which is aimed at all Muslims in Scotland, urged people in the community not to vote for any candidate who supports gay marriage in upcoming council elections.
‘It's totally against not just our faith but most of the faiths. So the Government would be forcing the groups to break their faith to go against it,’ spokesman Bashir Maan told the Press Association.
However, the plans would only allow same-sex couples to tie the knot in a registry office or other civil ceremony and religions would not be forced to hold weddings, even if they wanted to.
Tim Hopkins from Scottish gay rights group the Equality Network said that despite opposition from both Glasgow’s imams and leaders in the Catholic Church, the majority of Scots support same-sex marriage.
‘I think it’s clear that many Scottish Muslims will not agree with everything the council of Imams does and says,’ he told Gay Star News.
Hopkins added: ‘I think the Scottish government will go ahead with the equal marriage bill because although cardinals and bishops in the Catholic Church and now imams oppose it, we are talking about a minority opinion.
‘The key point is that Scotland is multi-cultural and there are some religions which disagree with same-sex marriage but there are some religions which agree with it, like the Quakers, liberal Jews and so on.
‘In a free country, religious groups should be allowed to decide for themselves whether to do same-sex marriage, but it should be available for those who want it.
‘Nobody is going to be forced to do it. People are entirely free to say no. For that reason, I think the Scottish government will go ahead with it.’
Colin Macfarlane, director of Stonewall Scotland, a branch of Britain's largest gay campaign organization, told Gay Star News: ‘It is disappointing that Council of Imams are trying to sway the democratic right of Scottish Muslims by suggesting that they shouldn’t vote for candidates that support equal marriage.
‘The truth is, councillors will have no say in legislating for equal marriage and Scottish Muslims will be voting for candidates who will deliver the best local services for their communities. The majority of Scots across all faiths support equal marriage and the Council of Imams are clearly out of step with public opinion.’
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.