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Friday, 14 December 2012

Gay marriage and religious privilege in Scotland

The Scotsman reports that religious leaders in Scotland are seeking additional legal privileges and 'protections' in addition to those that they currently enjoy and those which are proposed in the new Scottish Government paper on changes to the law of marriage.

Why should religious denominations be authorised to register marriage on behalf of the state and at the same time pick and choose which types of marriage among those recognised by the state that they will celebrate?

Surely it would be much simpler and fairer, as in France and Turkey, for all marriages to be required to be registered initially by the civil registrar. Couples and religious denominations and others who celebrate marriage would all then be free to negotiate among themselves as to how to celebrate the new match and religions would be free of state regulation of their religious celebration of marriage.

Already more than half of marrying couples in Scotland choose the civil registration route -so the move to a simpler secular system that respected the right of religious denominations to celebrate weddings as they wish after registration would not be that challenging. We are half way there already and the trends revealed in the 2011 census suggest that they are continuing in that direction

Letter in the Scotsman 14 December 2012