LONDON, March 5, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A volunteer chaplain for a Scottish police force has told MPs he was removed from his post after expressing his views opposing the government’s plans to create “gay marriage.”
The Rev. Brian Ross, a former minister of the Church of Scotland has told a Commons committee that he fell afoul of the “equality and diversity policies” of the Strathclyde Police after he said on his blog that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Now, in a written submission to the Commons committee examining the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, Rev. Ross warned that there would be more such cases should the government’s gay “marriage” bill, passed in the House of Commons last month, be made into law. Ross said that his dismissal from his volunteer position is “typical of the kind of situation that could, and would, arise” under the proposed law for believers working in any publicly funded venue, such as hospital chaplaincies.
“Just before the summer, a senior officer in one of the divisions read my personal blog and objected to my expressed support for traditional marriage as, it was claimed, it went against the force’s equality and diversity policies. I was summoned to a meeting, the end result of which has been that my services have been dispensed with,” Ross told MPs.
“This, I would emphasise, is before any legislation has been placed on the statute book.”
“My voluntary situation is bad enough but legal opinion is that if I were, for example, a hospital chaplain in full-time employment I would be equally open to dismissal because of my sincerely held beliefs regarding the sanctity of marriage,” he continued.
On March 24th, 2011, Rev. Ross wrote on his blog, “I am becoming increasingly aware of the devaluation of the word ‘marriage’. Marriage, certainly in the Christian understanding of it, was ordained by God, and given a blessing by the presence of Jesus at the marriage in Cana of Galilee …
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“It was given, according to the words of the marriage service that I used, ‘... for the sake of the life-long companionship, help, and comfort that husband and wife ought to have of each other. ... so that family life may continue, and that children, who are a gift from God, may be brought up in the love and security of a stable and happy home. ... for the welfare of human society, that can be strong and happy only where the marriage commitment is kept and honoured’.
“So I am unhappy when I hear of moves to introduce homosexual ‘marriages’, able to be conducted within buildings that have been dedicated to the worship of Almighty God.”
He also criticized “sham” marriages, in which foreign nationals pay someone to legally marry them.
Religious leaders have strongly criticized government promises that religious clergy will be protected under the proposed legislation. Legal experts have told MPs repeatedly that any legal protections built into the law could and probably would be overturned either by domestic courts, or through complaints lodged with the European Court of Human Rights.
Colin Hart, the campaign director for Coalition for Marriage, said, “This is just the start of things to come.”
“We have consistently warned that ripping up the current definition would lead to all sorts of consequences, including people getting sacked and being forced out of their jobs because of their beliefs.
“When will the government finally admit what legal experts, MPs, even teachers, are saying, that the so-called safeguards are not worth the paper they are written on – they will be challenged in the courts and will be overturned.”
A spokesman for the Strathclyde Police denied Rev. Ross’s claim that he was let go because of his opinions about marriage, saying, “It was decided that his services were no longer required.”
She continued, “Whilst the force wholly respects the Rev. Ross’s and, indeed any employees’ personally held political and religious beliefs, such views cannot be expressed publicly if representing the force, as it is by law an apolitical organisation with firmly embedded policies which embrace diversity and equality.”