Scotland Free Church Skeptical Whether Same-Sex Marriage Protections Would Work

The Free Church of Scotland has stated that the possibility of reduced religious freedoms and protections for clergy would become a reality should the current proposal to redefine the traditional meaning of marriage be passed by the Scottish government.

The declaration of limited religious freedom and protections for opponents of same-sex marriage came after leaders with the Free Church of Scotland met with officials of the Scottish government. Religious officials called the assurances made by the government concerning those opposed to the redefinition of marriage "unconvincing."

This comes after representatives from the Free Church met with a government official to discuss the planned legalization of gay marriage and the effect that would have on those who do not endorse the government's plans.

Some of the main concerns raised address the possibility of churches or their members being sued if they object to conducting same-sex ceremonies under the Equality Act that was passed in the United Kingdom in 2010.

Dr. Malcolm Maclean, editor of the Free Church's monthly magazine The Monthly Record, remains skeptical that the Scottish Government would be even able to offer protections under the current guidelines and what may happen in future years.

Maclean insisted that teachers, chaplains, Christians looking to adopt and church groups could all be the subjects of litigation even with the addition of specific protections.

"Even if we could trust politicians of the present to be bound by their own words, they cannot bind future politicians," Maclean told the Christian Institute.

The Free Church of Scotland has stated that the Scottish government has continually ignored its citizens and even its own consultation results on that matter, which showed most Scottish respondents were against legalizing same-sex marriage.

"We are totally committed to protecting religious freedom and freedom of expression, and ensuring that religious celebrants opposed to same-sex marriage do not have to solemnize same sex ceremonies," a government spokeswoman said in a statement.