A new campaign group to stop marriage being redefined in Scotland has been launched today – St Andrew’s Day – in front of hundreds of supporters.
Over 200 people gathered outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh to mark the start of “Scotland for Marriage”.
Former SNP leader, Gordon Wilson, spoke at the event welcoming the campaign. So too did Cardinal O’Brien, Roman Catholic Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh.
Ann Allen, former Convener of the Church of Scotland’s Board of Social Responsibility, also spoke.
Scotland for Marriage is backed by The Christian Institute and other religious and non-religious groups.
Adverts to publicise the group’s launch were published in three national newspapers – the Daily Record, The Herald and The Scotsman.
A website for the group, scotlandformarriage.org, features an online petition calling for a referendum on the issue and pointing to the far-reaching implications of redefining marriage.
Gordon Wilson said: “If the Scottish Government wants the Scottish people to vote for independence in a referendum, why is it going out of its way to alienate so many Scots in the Christian and Muslim communities?
“As a veteran, it is obvious to me the Government is in a political hole. My advice is simple. Forget about the ‘done deal’ with the Tory/Liberal coalition in London. They are not on your side. Scotland is not London. As you will find, Scotland is for marriage!”
Cardinal O’Brien said: “As an institution, marriage long predates the existence of any state or government. It was not created by government and should not be changed by them.
“Instead, recognising the innumerable benefits which marriage brings to society they should act to protect and uphold it not attack or dismantle it.
“At the heart of this debate however there is one perspective which seems to be completely lost or ignored, it is the point of view of the child.
“All children deserve to begin life with a mother and father, the evidence in favour of the stability and wellbeing which this provides is overwhelming and unequivocal.”
Ann Allen, former Convener of the Church of Scotland’s Board of Social Responsibility, said: “I’m confused as to why with so many pressing issues confronting us today in Scotland, our government has chosen to prioritise time, effort, and money on this particular issue.
“Canada legalised same sex marriage in 2005 and today faces challenges to have polygamy legalised. Is this what we want for a modern Scotland: a continual changing of moral and legal goalposts?
“As a former teacher I am concerned that children are going to be taught that same sex partnerships and traditional marriage are the same, which they are not.
“If the redefining of marriage goes ahead it will have far reaching consequences and as far as I can see none of them are positive.”
The Scottish Government is holding a public consultation on the issue, ending on 9 December. It says it is listening to all sides in the debate.