Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill – Stage 3
(The letter copied below was sent to all MSPs by the Rev D M Blunt on behalf of the Church's Public Questions, Religion & Morals Committee.)
Dear Sir or Madam,
Ahead of the Stage 3 Proceedings of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill which are due to take place in the Scottish Parliament on 4th February we wish to indicate our Church’s continued opposition to the Bill’s proposals. We would also like to make one further plea to you as a Member of the Scottish Parliament to vote against the Bill.
Among the many reasons why we think this Bill ought to be rejected are the following:
1) The Bill attempts to redefine marriage. It does so by affording unnatural, same-sex relationships based on what the Bible calls “vile affections” (Romans 1:26) the same status in law as the matrimonial union between a man and a woman which God Himself instituted and blessed. Such a step defies the Creator, mocking true marriage and defiling its honourable name. We are amazed that our legislators, who ought to be examples of wisdom and righteousness to the nation, could be so foolish and so enslaved to political correctness as to propose such a thing. It flies in the face of reason and has no regard for the evil consequences which may be involved, particularly for children.
2) The Bill casts aside our Christian heritage. The Protestant reformed religion is established by law in the United Kingdom. In Scotland that religion is enshrined principally in the Westminster Confession of Faith which was ratified by the Scottish Parliament in 1690 and confirmed in the Treaty of Union of 1707. The Confession declares: “Marriage is to be between one man and one woman” (Ch.24:1). The accompanying Larger Catechism declares “sodomy, and all unnatural lusts” to be among the sins forbidden by the seventh commandment (Q.139). Same-sex ‘marriage’ is clearly incompatible with Christian teaching. Indeed the Word of God teaches us that homosexuality is a divine judgment upon mankind for idolatry: “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves” (Romans 1:24).
3) The Bill ignores the results of the Scottish Government’s own consultation with the public.Two-thirds of those who expressed an opinion on the proposal for same-sex ‘marriage’ indicated their opposition to it yet the vote in Parliament at Stage 1 of the Bill was 98 to 15 in favour. This demonstrates how the Parliament is not only out of step with biblical morality but also with popular opinion. While we do not suggest that moral matters should be decided by a vote of the people we do fear that with their message of “we know best” our politicians are in danger of alienating even more people from the political process and thereby diminishing our democracy.
4) The Bill presents a clear threat to our customary freedoms. Despite all the reassurances which have been given of ‘safeguards’ for those who believe in ‘traditional’ marriage events since the vote on 20th November have done nothing to bolster our confidence that the safeguards will amount to anything. On 19th December the Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee rejected three amendments to the Bill which would provide protection for public employees, charitable organisations and fosterers and adopters who object to same-sex marriage. On 6th January it was revealed that a Church of Scotland minister had been removed from his chaplaincy role at a state school in Glasgow because he had expressed the view that homosexuality is a “disorder” and that according to the Bible it is a “perversion”. On 8th January a street evangelist was arrested in Dundee and charged with “breach of the peace with homophobic aggravation” because he included homosexual practice among the sins from which Christ came to save us. If these things can happen already then what is in store if the Bill is passed, especially in its present form?
We are on a slippery slope morally as a nation and our elected representatives bear a great portion of the blame for they have approved the ungodly legislation which has allowed sin of various kinds to flourish. Churches which have been indifferent to sin and kept silent when they should have spoken out are also responsible for our present state and we do not exempt ourselves from this. We remind you that you are accountable to God for your actions like everyone else, including your actions in public office, and that one day we will all stand before the judgment seat of Jesus Christ.
We plead with you for the sake of our society and especially its most vulnerable members to vote against the Bill on Tuesday.
We also urge you to support any amendments to the Bill which will ensure proper protection for those who cannot in good conscience agree with the redefinition of marriage or approve of same-sex relationships.
Rev. David Blunt
(Convener, Public Questions, Religion & Morals Committee, Free Church of Scotland (Continuing))