Same-sex 'marriage' in Scotland delayed over religious freedom concerns
The BBC is reporting that it has seen a leaked e-mail suggesting that the Scottish Government may delay a bill introducing same-sex ‘marriage’ until Westminster changes the law to protect vital freedoms.
The e-mail suggests that SNP ministers want the Equality Act to be amended prior to introducing same-sex marriage, due to serious concerns over the potential impact that redefining marriage would have on religious freedom and freedom of speech.
The e-mail suggests that ministers want protection in the Equality Act for vicars, priests and ministers who disapprove of same-sex marriage, as well as freedom of speech protections for those who want to speak out against it.
The e-mail said: "We may announce that we will proceed with the introduction of same-sex marriage, by means of both civil and religious ceremonies, and with the introduction of religious ceremonies to register civil partnerships.
"However we may also say, and give considerable prominence to saying, that the government recognises the need to provide appropriate protections for some in Scottish society who are against same sex marriage.
"I expect we will say that the Equality Act 2010 needs to be amended to provide full protection for individual celebrants who are opposed to same-sex ceremonies, even if their religious body has decided to opt in to carrying out such ceremonies.
"...We would not introduce a bill into the Scottish Parliament until we had reached agreement with the UK government on the types of amendment that might be needed to the Equality Act 2010.
The e-mail also raises concerns over the impact that same-sex marriage may have on what is taught in schools, with suggestions that new guidance may be needed for teachers.
The Scottish Government said that it would confirm its intentions on the bill by the end of the month.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said:
“This demonstrates what we have been warning people about - redefining marriage does not just alter and weaken the central institution of society, but also threatens freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
“Marriage has not yet been legally redefined, yet we have already seen people harassed, threatened, put under investigation at work and even banned from venues to hold a debate, just for believing that the current legal definition of marriage should remain unchanged.”