SCOTLAND, February 7, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Scotland’s four opposition parties are facing strong criticism after each of their leaders endorsed an “Equal Marriage Pledge” promulgated by homosexualist advocacy group Equality Network calling for a redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples.
The ruling Scottish National Party (SNP), which concluded a 14-week consultation on the issue in December, have so far refused to sign the pledge.
But Labour Party’s Johann Lamont, Conservative’s Ruth Davidson, Liberal Democrat’s Willie Rennie, and Green’s Patrick Harvie said last week that they would “campaign to beat the ban on same sex marriage,” as they jointly signed the pledge.
At the signing event, which included cutting an “equal marriage” wedding cake, Conservative Party leader Ruth Davidson said, “I support the Equality Network’s Equal Marriage campaign. … The Scottish Government will bring forward legislation on gay marriage in this parliament and I want to ensure we have a workable way of advancing this issue for the people of Scotland,” according to PinkNews.
Tim Hopkins, director of the Equality Network told PinkNews that he hoped the endorsement by the country’s opposition leaders would result in Scotland legalizing same-sex “marriage” by the end of next year.
“We are delighted that leading politicians from across the political spectrum have united for equal marriage,” said an Equality Network spokesperson.
The Scottish government concluded its 14-week public consultation on whether to introduce homosexual “marriage” into the country’s laws on December 9, 2011, and is now in the process of analyzing the massive amount of responses, about 50,000 submissions.
A spokeswoman for the government said “it would be inappropriate for a government minister to sign any pledge on this matter while the analysis of the consultation is ongoing,” according to the Christian Institute.
The issue of legalizing same-sex “marriage” has reportedly caused a rift in the ruling Scottish National Party, which holds a 10 seat majority in the Scottish Parliament. The BBC reported that a motion tabled by SNP member John Mason seeking to include conscience and religious exemption from participating in same-sex “marriage” within any proposed legislation caused an uproar, with fellow parliamentarians saying Mason’s motion encouraged discrimination against homosexuals.
Andrea Minichiello Williams of Christian Concern, an organization that promotes religious freedom in the UK, said that the proposed changes to the law would have “huge” implications for freedom of belief.
“Individuals and churches are likely to be sued under equality legislation if they do not wish to participate, regardless of any conscience safeguards, which have never worked in the past,” she told Christian Today.
“Many Christians have already lost their jobs because of the promotion of homosexual rights,” Williams said.
The Scottish Government’s proposal to redefine marriage has been condemned by the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland and the country’s Muslim community.
In December, Reverend James Gracie of the Free Church of Scotland caused a stir among homosexualists when he compared homosexuality to paedophilia and polygamy on a BBC Radio Scotland talk show. “If the homosexuals, and these people, want to be treated equally, then what about paedophiles? What about polygamy?” Rev Gracie is reported to have said.
A newly launched organization called Scotland for Marriage, which promotes the definition of true marriage as between a man and a woman, and has the backing of both religious and non-religious groups, warns that Rev Gracie’s statement should be heeded by pointing out the situation in Canada.
“If marriage is redefined for same-sex marriage, it could be redefined for polygamy next,” the group advises on its website. “Canada introduced same-sex marriage and then that was used in a court case to argue that polygamy should be made legal. Once you start unpicking the definition of marriage, it can unravel further.”
Scotland for Marriage is calling for a referendum on the issue, and has initiated a petition in favour of retaining the current legal definition marriage.
“This issue should be decided by the people, not by politicians,” the group says. “If there is to be a change it should be subject to a referendum. The Scottish Government did not invent marriage, and it does not have the moral authority to redefine it. At the very least, on an issue of this importance, MSPs should be guided by their constituents more on this issue than would normally be the case.”