Saturday, 22 October 2011

MP's long-held opinion shockingly shocks the Catholic Church at fringe event #equalmarriage

There has been uproar from the Catholic Church in Scotland about comments made by Pete Wishart MP
at a fringe event at SNP conference yesterday. Mr Wishart said:

"What I believe will happen is that our government, over the course of the next few years, after this consultation, will bring forward legislation which will ensure we will have equal marriage in this country. I'm proud of that, I'm proud that this is the party that will be leading us forward, and I look forward to that new Scotland that we're trying to build."

Seeing as the Scotsman say it was hosted by Alyn Smith MEP (along with the Scottish Youth Parliament and LGBT Youth Scotland, I notice) I did what any tweeting fiend would do and check his Tweeter feed. Look what I found:

Now there you have it, there was a discussion. It was a fringe event looking at one of the political topics of the day, in this case equal marriage. Apparently it went around the houses.

Now what the Catholic Church of Scotland may not have got is that fringe meetings at party conferences are meetings where issues are discussed. No conclusions are necessarily drawn, no policy is formed, but members will be made to think and will make the political representatives present think. What is said in a fringe meeting by a speaker is not Ex Cathedra. Indeed I have found out from people who were there that the debate from the floor did cover both sides of the debate, though the overall majority were in support of the premise of equal marriage being the outcome from the consultation.

But look again at the start of Wishart's comments it is "what I believe will happen", it is not what will happen, but what he believes will happen. Now Pete Wishart is one of those MPs within the SNP who for a long time has been pro equal marriage. It is hardly surprising that he should want to see a progressive way forward being the outcome.

The shouting and gnashing of teeth is over the church fearing that they will be forced to do anything. Look at John Mason's amendment which actually wasn't an amendment as there was no obligation for any faith group to carry out same-sex marriage anyway, something backed up by John Swinney.

"There will be no compulsion here, there will be no obligation. The protection is there so that no individual within the religious community will be obliged to do this.
"I think we're right to take this course of action, we're right to make it possible for religious practitioners to conduct same-sex marriages if they wish to do so. But clearly there must be no compulsion involved in any of that."

What most people want is the possibility of religious groups coming to their own conclusions within their own governance structure. Where there are same sex couples or gay individual within that faith grouping, they may ask their leaders to look at the issue, if that is they want to get married within that faith. The laws of the churches are of course up for them and cannot be dictated to, but there are faith groups that want an enabling to carry out same-sex as well as mixed sex marriage and have already said they wish to do so.

1 comment:

  1. The most ridiculous thing about the church's "stand" on this is that for twelve years at Catholic schools, I had drummed into me annually that ONLY Catholic marriage, or other Christian marriage with a dispensation from a Catholic bishop are sacramentally valid. So why the fuss about either Civil Partnership or Civil Marriage? Neither has any actual standing in the eyes of the Church.