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Friday, 27 July 2012

Integrity


 Religious leaders have accused Nicola Sturgeon of ignoring the results of her consultation on gay marriage

David Cameron with Rev Daniel Gibbins and Rt Rev Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham at the reception

Regardless of public opinion on the subject, the Scottish Deputy First Minister has insisted that legislation will be brought forward enabling the first gay marriage to take place in Scotland in 2015 despite 64% of the population being against it. Announcing the decision, Miss Sturgeon said: “We are committed to a Scotland that is fair and equal, and that is why we intend to proceed with plans to allow same-sex marriage and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships."

South of the border the Dean of St Albans has accused the Church of England of being 'without integrity' on the subject of same sex marriage. In his Out4Marriage contribution he goes so far as to claim that God must be in favour of gay marriage. I have great sympathy for Dr John but I find this contribution to the debate extraordinary. Yes 'God is love' and God must love gay and transgender people as much as so-called straight people but it cannot follow that God is in favour of same-sex marriage. Similarly, when Miss Sturgeon says that she is committed to a country that is fair and equal, the majority of people who voted 'No' to same-sex marriage would agree with her sentiments on equality but that has nothing to do with the proposal to legalise same-sex marriage which to the majority of people is a contradiction. 

At the recent Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender reception hosted by the Prime Minister, Mr Cameron recognised "the immense contribution that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people make in every part of our country, in the arts, in media, in sport, in business, in finance". That is not in doubt. Gay people contribute much, perhaps more in some spheres and are entitled to be loved and valued along with everyone else but it cannot be right that the rest of us should be made to feel that there is something wrong with us simply for disagreeing with gay marriage. Opponents of the ordination of women were accused of being misogynists, now opponents of same-sex marriage are accused of being homophobic when nothing could be further from the truth. If Mr Cameron  believes that the Church is "locking out people who are gay, or are bisexual or are transgender from being full members of that Church" he shows an abysmal ignorance, certainly of the Anglican church in my experience. 

So let us have real integrity and accept that opponents of same-sex marriage also have deeply held convictions. Contrary to what politicians would have us believe, this is not about equality but about the redefinition of an institution that will have far reaching implications for all of us, particularly for our children and their schools, something politicians simply fail to understand. They have no mandate; it is pure opportunism.   

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