Church of Scotland re-iterates opposition to same sex marriage and questions effectiveness of safeguards for religious bodies.
In response to the Scottish Government’s statement, the Church of Scotland has re-iterated its opposition to same-sex marriage. It also expresses concerns about the speed with which this is proceeding and what it sees as inadequate safeguards for religious bodies who see this as being contrary to their beliefs. The Rev Alan Hamilton, Convener of the Church of Scotland Legal Questions Committee, explains the Church’s position:
“The Church of Scotland’s position has not changed since we responded to the Scottish Government’s Consultation last December. Unless our General Assembly decides otherwise, we cannot support the Government’s proposals on celebrating civil partnerships or same sex marriage. We are acutely aware that opinions differ among our own members and that many people are anxious and hurt in the current situation. We believe homophobia to be sinful and we reaffirm our strong pastoral commitment to all people in Scotland, regardless of sexual orientation or beliefs.
“The Church is taking time to carefully consider the important issues of same-sex relationships, civil partnerships and marriage. Our Theological Commission will report in May 2013. However, we are concerned that the Scottish Government is rushing ahead on something that affects all the people of Scotland without adequate debate and reflection.
“We will be scrutinising the proposed legislation very carefully. In particular we are concerned that the Government will legislate without being able to effectively protect religious bodies or their ministers whose beliefs prevent them from celebrating civil-partnerships or same-sex marriages. The Church’s Legal Questions Committee has re-iterated these concerns to the First Minister. As yet, no satisfactory assurances have been received.”