Protect those who back traditional marriage, says MSP

An MSP has called for the civil liberties of those who believe in traditional marriage to be protected by law.

Murdo Fraser, the former deputy leader of the Scottish Tories, made the comments at a meeting of the campaign group Scotland for Marriage in Dunkeld.

Mr Fraser said regarding the same-sex marriage proposals: “If it is to proceed, it is essential that appropriate safeguards are put in place to ensure that liberties are not adversely affected.”

Concerned

He also said: “There are few issues which feature so prominently in my constituency mail bag as that of same-sex marriage.

“It is clear there are many local residents who are very concerned about the Scottish Government’s proposals to legalise same-sex marriage, and in particular the impact this might have on religious freedom.”

Scotland for Marriage has said Alex Salmond broke his promise to protect civil liberties in his same-sex marriage Bill.

Supporters

The Scottish First Minister made assurances to traditional marriage supporters that the draft Bill would provide protections for freedom of speech and conscience.

But Scotland for Marriage said that although there has been “some movement” on freedom of speech, key concerns have been ignored.

Most of the protections that have been offered are in guidelines rather than legislation, which campaigners say is not what was promised.

Disagree

Earlier this year a police chaplain was removed from his post because he disagreed with gay marriage on his personal internet blog.

And a local council has been accused of trying to edge out school chaplains, with its Deputy Leader wanting to keep out those who back traditional marriage.

A legal opinion from leading human rights barrister Aidan O’Neill QC warned that redefining marriage could have implications for the civil liberties of public sector workers.

Opinion

The opinion said that chaplains could lose their jobs for talking about their traditional views about marriage, even when they’re off duty.

A consultation on the details of the draft Bill, which included civil liberty issues, closed in March.

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