Sunday 20 November 2011

Make your views known NOW on same sex marriage

The Scottish government consultation on same sex marriage closes on 9 December. Please make your individual response NOW. A simplified form is available here. The full consultation form is available here.

1) Despite the Church having sent many thousands of cards from individual Catholics protesting the introduction of same sex marriage, it has been decided that they will only count as one submission. This makes it imperative that as many Catholics as possible make their views known individually.[29/11: See update below.]

2) The simplified form (from the Christian Institute) states that only Scottish residents can take part. I can see no basis for this claim in any of the material I have read. Whilst I am open to correction on this, given the prominent interventions by many US pro-gay activists in the comboxes of the Scottish press, I see no reason why anyone who cares about this issue shouldn't submit a response. (Scotland's reputation worldwide is clearly relevant to this process.) If you use the simplified form, it will take only a few minutes of your time.[See update below.]

3) Full details of all this here from the Defend Marriage in Scotland website.

[Update 29 Nov: Postcard responses apparently will be counted. Non-Scottish residents are able to submit responses. See Defend Marriage site for details here and here.]


  1. Wouldn't we all be in a better position to insist on the difference between Christian marriage and what is proposed had we Catholics supported the concept of civil union which encourages stability and fidelity as against promiscuity. Being opposed to any recognition of the civil needs of those whose sexual orientation does not give them the choice of a loving and permanent heterosexual relationships, makes us seem anti-gays rather than pro- Christian marriage

  2. I think there are two main problems with that suggestion:

    1) Given that Catholic teaching is clearly against homosexual activity, setting up an institution which is based on that activity is clearly problematic. (If you think the teaching on homosexual activity is wrong, then of course you're in a different type of argument. But the teaching seems to me far too deeply entrenched in Catholic moral theology to be viewed as a sort of oversight to be corrected.)

    2) Putting aside specifically Catholic teaching, it's not clear to me why -apart from its usefulness in ensuring a stable family environment- society has an interest in promoting stable partnerships. For example, there is a clear economic case to be made for ensuring a mobile workforce. This interest is overridden by the need to ensure that children have stability. But I'm not sure why it should be overridden to promote stable partnerships based simply on romantic inclination.

  3. We do live in a society where all do not share the Church's teaching. Such a society needs to take account of all its members - including gay atheists and orthodox Catholics, let alone gay Catholics. If we are to ensure that people listen to our view of Christian marriage, we must not allow it to be confused with the homophobia which is not unknown among our brethren. There is nothing inconsistent in an orthodox Catholic accepting that civil society must make provision for all sorts and conditions and insisting that Catholics should not judge, lest they be judged.

  4. @ Frederick

    We need to separate a number of different issues here. Certainly, I agree with you about not confusing Catholic teaching with homophobia: we are all made in the image of God and we are all in need of God's grace. Any debate in this area needs to be conducted remembering (in CS Lewis's words), 'The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins...a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute.'

    So much for how the debate should be conducted. However, it needs to be remembered that the Church is here discussing a matter of morality (where it possesses the charism of infallibility exercised through its hierarchical structure). I assume from your previous postings elsewhere that you believe either that the Church has not in fact infallibly taught that homosexual activity is wrong or that it doesn't possess the charism of infallibility in the area of morality. Both positions I take to be hard to reconcile with orthodox Catholicism. But putting that aside, I think it would be utterly impossible to argue that generally the Church shouldn't resist immorality wherever it identifies it. Accordingly, your arguments shouldn't be directed so much against the Church's opposition to same sex 'marriage' -where, if its views on human sexual activity are correct, it is merely fulfilling its divine duty as defender of morality- but rather against its teachings on sexual activity per se.

    The hierarchy of the Church has a duty to proclaim the moral law, regardless of what members or those outside it might think. It also has a duty to judge, in that it has a duty to explain why some actions are wrong and some are right. If people refuse to listen to it, then, for the sake of civil peace, it may have to put up with that.(See my posting on 'A natural law argument for same sex marriage'.) But that is a matter for regret and in any case doesn't make the opposed views any less wrong -merely widespread!