RC Archbishop warns of legal risk of redefining marriage

The Scottish Government risks making the beliefs of many Scots “unlawful” if it redefines marriage, one of Scotland’s most senior Roman Catholics has warned.

Mario Conti, the Archbishop of Glasgow, has cautioned that a “hugely significant number” of Scots would be “vulnerable to accusations of discrimination” if they support traditional marriage.

His comments come just days after a Christian housing manager in England was demoted for privately expressing his opinions about civil partnerships in churches.


In a letter to The Herald the Archbishop said: “We don’t know where the majority of Scots actually stand with regard to the Scottish Government’s mind to redefine marriage to include same sex partnerships.

“What we do know is that there is a hugely significant number of Scots who are not only opposed to this change for very sound reasons but who would, even after such a change, continue to hold that there cannot be a moral equivalence between the two forms of union.

“A change in the law will effectively render such people in a sense ‘unlawful’ ie, in a position opposed to the law, vulnerable to accusations of discrimination, and in danger in some circumstances, of losing their jobs if their integrity does not allow them to equivocate.”

The Archbishop added: “We need to support marriage and not further unsettle its traditional place in our land.”


The Scottish Government is currently holding a consultation on whether to rewrite the definition of marriage.

Earlier this month Gordon Wilson, former leader of the Scottish National Party, called for a referendum to be held on the issue.

And an SNP activist warned that a “politically correct secular society” that redefines marriage was not his idea of an independent Scotland.


In a strong rebuke to his own party, 75-year-old Alan Clayton called for deputy leader, Nicola Sturgeon, to resign over the issue.

Earlier this month the Free Church of Scotland added its voice to that of the Roman Catholic Church in speaking out against moves to rewrite the definition of marriage.

The Free Church Commission said that to change the meaning of marriage shows “an irrational determination to force a form of equality upon society which is not rooted in any recognised moral foundation”.

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