Church of Scotland Stands Alone in Refusal of Same-Sex Marriage?
The Church of Scotland released an official statement Thursday condemning same-sex marriage, further frustrating the push among some of the country's politicians to redefine traditional marriage.
The Church's statement hinders the progress of Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland, who was been pushing for the legalization of same-sex marriage in the country. Salmond launched a proposal in September questioning whether same-sex marriage should be legalized in Scotland.
"The Government's proposal fundamentally changes marriage as it is understood in our country and our culture -- that it is a relationship between one man and one woman," read the Church of Scotland’s statement.
Critics contend that the Church’s decision disagrees with the will of the people. A recent poll conducted by Scottish Social Attitudes found that 60 percent of Scots agree that same-sex marriages should be treated in the same legal capacity as traditional marriage. Nineteen percent disagreed.
The Church argues that it is following the "will of God" by condemning same-sex marriage.
"This is a disappointing response from the Kirk [the Church of Scotland]. I had really hoped that they would fall into line with the views of the majority of people in Scotland," Pete Wishart, the Scottish National Party's MP for Perth and North Perthshire, told the Scotsman.
The Church of Scotland also condemned the government for its hasty proceedings concerning the gay marriage proposal, describing the debate thus far as "patchy."
"The Church believes that much more measured consideration is required before the understanding of marriage which is entrenched and valued within the culture of Scotland, both secular and religious, is surrendered to accommodate this wish," read the statement.
Deputy first minister and Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said that in lieu of the church's decision, ministers "tended towards their initial view" and may continue with planned reforms, according to BBC News.
"I find it difficult to fathom why the Church of Scotland seeks to impose its view on the whole of society when we do not seek to impose our views on it," Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Renner told BBC News.