(27th July 2012)
The Scottish Government has finally decided to legalise same-sex marriage. For more than a year our church, like others in Scotland, has been burdened over this issue. Our Committee responded to the Government’s consultation, circulated a public statement and met with a representative of the Government to explain our view on the matter. In addition many of our presbyteries, kirk sessions and people responded to the consultation and communicated their concerns to the Government and to MSPs. Above all we have brought the matter to the Lord in prayer, believing that He is Sovereign over the affairs of men.
The Government’s decision goes against the will of the majority who contributed to its consultation. More importantly it goes against the will of God revealed in His Holy Word, the Bible. Sadly it appears that the discussion within the cabinet has been over the practicalities of introducing same-sex marriage rather than the principle. This is a grave mistake and a symptom of the lack of righteousness within our nation. We are therefore issuing this statement for the consideration of those who were responsible for the decision and also for the interest of the general public. We wish to make the following points:
1) To legislate in favour of same-sex marriage is to commit a great evil, namely to rewrite an institution of God. The Scottish Government is acting against the plain teaching of Scripture and against the facts of nature. We believe that these words spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ are for the Government: “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?” (Matthew 19:4,5) God made the two sexes expressly so that they could be joined in marriage. This is marriage as God gave it and woe unto those who would attempt to alter it.
2) Same-sex marriage can never be true marriage, whatever its advocates may say. To maintain that two people of the same sex should have the same freedom to marry each other as two people of the opposite sex is absurd. It disregards the fact that the two sexes are meant to complement each other in the union of marriage, as husband and wife. When God made the first man He declared, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18); then He made the first woman and united the two in marriage. The existence of the two sexes enables procreation and this is one of the ends of marriage for God said to the first couple: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). It is perverse therefore after thousands of years of history to devise a sort of ‘marriage’ in which procreation is, by the very nature of things, completely ruled out. There can be no ‘right’ to same-sex marriage because God has not given us that right: those who legislate or vote for it will be guilty of mocking God but they will discover that God is not mocked and that “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
3) Same-sex marriage has no place in a civilised society, least of all in a Christian one. We remind the Scottish Government that our country is Christian, according to its constitution, and that the state does not enjoy the luxury of being indifferent to Christ and His cause, far less of opposing it. Since the Reformation of 1560 Scotland as a nation has subscribed to the reformed Christian religion and this religious position was safeguarded in the Treaty of Union of 1707. It hardly needs to be stated that according to the Christian religion marriage is between one man and one woman for life. It is the duty of the Scottish Government to uphold this Christian view of marriage, not to subvert it.
4) Same-sex marriage will inevitably place Christians in a difficult position. If same sex marriage is introduced in Scotland then ordinary Christians, and indeed all who base their moral values upon the Word of God, will ultimately suffer. While the Government is insisting that there will be ‘protections’for religious organisations, individual marriage celebrants and perhaps others who cannot in conscience approve of same-sex marriage these safeguards can only be brought in by the UK Parliament through amendments to the 2010 Equality Act. Yet it appears that the Scottish Government plans to proceed with its legislation before these amendments have been made, meaning that MSPs will be voting without knowing the precise details of the protections. All in all we can have very little confidence that people involved in the public sector in areas such as health, social work and education will escape being penalised for refusing to regard the newly-invented relationship as ‘normal’. There is also every likelihood that churches which oppose same-sex marriage will eventually, by one means or another, face action for ‘discrimination’ and that ministers who preach against same-sex marriage will be proceeded against for ‘hate crime’.
5) Same sex-marriage is by no means the end of the road we are presently travelling as a nation. If the Scottish Government thinks that having consented to the plea for same-sex marriage it will not face further demands for changes to the law in this area then it should think again. Those who are being given up by God to uncleanness and vile affections will not be satisfied until all restrictions on their sinful behaviour have been removed. They are being supported by those whose agenda is to destroy what remains of our Christian heritage and values. Consequently we may expect calls to further lower the age of consent and to permit incestuous and polygamous marriage. This is the result when governments show themselves more willing to gratify ungodly pressure groups than to please Almighty God. Yet the solemn truth is that a nation which will not honour God will not be honoured by God: “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). The Scottish Government is taking our nation one step further on its descent into ungodliness and unrighteousness: is there no-one in its ranks who instead of being a politician acting for the moment will be a statesman who gives thought to our nation’s future?
We believe that the attempt to rewrite marriage will ultimately fail; God will see to that. When a better day comes people will say, How mad we were to do such a thing! Meanwhile we will, with God’s gracious help, continue to oppose this wicked proposal in every lawful way.
We hereby call upon the Government even now to cease from legislation which will only increase the moral disorder so evident in our society and the judgment of God upon our land.