The Scottish Government has made “little substantive effort” to protect civil liberty and free speech from the impact of its gay marriage Bill, MSPs have been told.
Yesterday, faith groups were giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee, which is examining the Bill.
Kieran Turner of the Evangelical Alliance said the Bill could drive a wedge between faith-based community projects and local councils.
He said there is a risk that local councils could sever links with organisations that hold to a traditional view of marriage.
John Deighan of the Scottish Roman Catholic Church said the essence of marriage is “that there is a man and a woman at the heart of it, and that is the relationship which gives rise to children”.
Writing in The Scotsman, he also said: “The institution of marriage pre-exists and pre-dates the state”.
He added: “Parliament should not proceed to make such changes against so many strong recommendations to the contrary and an overwhelming public rejection of the proposals in unprecedented numbers during the consultation period last year.”
“For the sake of the common good, I urge our parliamentarians not to proceed with this legislation”, he said.
In written evidence to the committee the Evangelical Alliance said it was “disappointed” the Government had made “little substantive effort” to protect freedom of speech or conscience.
John Mason MSP, who is a member of the Equal Opportunities Committee, warned ahead of a recent pro-traditional marriage rally that safeguards are needed for those who believe marriage is between a man and a woman.
The Committee are holding double evidence sessions at earlier start times, in a move seen by critics as pushing the legislation through “in haste”.