The Church of Scotland and the Roman
Catholic Church in Scotland oppose the Scottish Government's plans to
legalize church wedding for gay and lesbian couples.
Last week, the government unveiled its
draft gay marriage bill, titled Marriage and Civil Partnership
(Scotland) Bill. After the close of the public consultation in
March, the government will deliver a final version to the Scottish
parliament, where a vote is expected sometime near the end of 2013.
The plan endorses allowing gay and
lesbian couples to marry in a church and other religious premises.
Religious organizations would need to “opt in” to perform such
In response, the Church of Scotland
reiterated its opposition to marriage equality.
“Unless our General Assembly decides
otherwise, we cannot support the Government's proposals on
celebrating civil partnerships or same sex marriage,” said the
Reverend Alan Hamilton, convener of the Church of Scotland's Legal
“We have also expressed concerns
about the speed with which the Government is proceeding with this and
what we fear will be inadequate safeguards for religious bodies and
ministers and people of faith who view this as being contrary to
their beliefs,” he added.
“The Catholic Church has made its
view very clear that the redefinition of marriage is unwise and
unnecessary,” said Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, president of the
Bishops' Conference of Scotland.
The United Reformed Church, the
Quakers, Episcopalians, Unitarians and Liberal Jews welcomed the
“Scottish Unitarians warmly welcome
the draft bill and its provisions to allow religious bodies to
conduct same-sex marriages,” said the Rev. Maud Robinson, a
Unitarian minister from Edinburgh.