Cynical delaying tactic from Cardinal O’Brien

Posted on July 16, 2012

So just days after declaring war on same-sex marriage, Cardinal O’Brien says he wants a referendum on the issue.

What a dangerous precedent it would be for the Government to cave in to religious demands of this kind. What would it say about the kind of society Scotland is becoming if a Church – any church – was handed an effective veto over the parliamentary process whenever an issue was raised that didn’t comply with their own absurd doctrines.

We’ve seen the way such processes are used in the US to promote the agenda of whichever religious groups can spend the most money, and I’d hate to think of Scotland going the same way.

Same-sex marriage was raised in most party manifestos at the 2011 election, it has broad public support, and it’s entirely reasonable to go ahead with the normal legislative process on this just as we do with any other proposal to change the law. Marriage has changed fundamentally for the better over the years, and is now a relationship between equals instead of a means by which men own and control women. Opening it to same-sex couples on equal terms is a minor change by comparison.

The campaign against equal marriage has been misleading and selfish from the word go, and merely represents a continued refusal to accept lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people’s equal status and basic human rights. Let’s remember that the Catholic Church in particular has opposed every step forward, from an equal age of consent to the repeal of Section 2A and the outlawing of discrimination in employment and services.

However it clearly doesn’t represent mainstream opinion, which has transformed dramatically for the better over recent decades.

Perhaps this video, produced by the campaign for equal marriage in Ireland, captures how many people would feel if the Government gave in to this delaying tactic and turned our personal lives into a referendum issue.


  1. As I and most likely many others feel that gay marriage is worthy of support,I can’t help but feel that if a ‘church’ of any religion denies access to that said church is,simply down to that church.
    People I believe would vote with their feet and carry their faith to a church that,like so many christian faiths,has almost no difference in it’s faith and teaching’s.
    I feel a little uncomfortable in trying to drag a belief from centuries old practise into this day simply down to this one point.
    If their teachings and faith deny gay relationships of any kind,then this could be said to be supported by it’s followers.Then I don’t see how a church should be forced through law to carry out a marriage on behalf of the state when it firmly believes that this is against what they believe.
    It appears to me that,as many people who support gay marriage,myself included,the church feels that it’s own view,teaching’s,belief could be respected as much as those who wish to be married.
    But as religion in general has run alongside and sometimes manipulated time and time again,I feel that it should be left to religious groups as to whether or not gay marriage should be conducted or not.
    I hope,sincerely,that gay marriage will be embraced by all churches,but I am uncomfortable with introducing laws to force any body or group to put into practice something that has been a fundamental teaching.As I have said,people will vote with their feet!

    Comment by Steven Luby — July 16, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

  2. Keith O’Brien represents the hierarchy of an institution which can claim little or no moral authority in the realm of human relationships. When weighed in the balance, their claim is found wanting due to their official position on celibacy in its religious orders, its criminal record on child abuse, lethal teaching on condom use, the authority its ‘cathedra’ claim in matters of faith and conscience, or equality in gender and sexuality. Let him strip himself of the titles and trappings of his office and address the issues rationally, transparently and honestly, and face the people whose loyalty he feeds on Sunday after Sunday. Instead, his press office puffs him up in the media. He and his institution reek of hypocrisy.

    Comment by R. Kilpatrick — July 16, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

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