BY Staff Reporter | December 16 2011 | comments icon 23 COMMENTS     print icon print


Scotland fails homosexual people

Cardinal O’Brien blames society, civil partnership law as government looks to redefine marriage

Cardinal Keith O’Brien has said that Scottish society has ‘failed’ because it has encouraged relationships between people of the same sex.

Britain’s most senior Catholic clergyman was speaking after campaigners from the Catholic Parliamentary Office campaign handed in more than 28,000 responses opposing the legalisation of same-sex ‘marriage’ before the Scottish Government’s consultation closed last Friday night.

In total the consultation has received more than 50,000 submissions, one of the largest responses ever prompted by a Scottish Government consultation with the response in opposition particularly strong from Catholics and other religious groups.

Cardinal O’Brien said unless the campaign against same-sex ‘marriage’ was successful Catholics would face ‘further challenges including the likelihood that Catholic teachers will be prohibited from passing on Gospel values.’ He said that the current consultation and the need for response were a direct result of the ill effects caused by the Scottish Parliament’s decision to enact civil partnership legislation in 2004.

“These measures were not in the best interests of our society,” he said. “The empirical evidence is clear, same-sex relationships are demonstrably harmful to the medical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of those involved, no compassionate society should ever enact legislation to facilitate or promote such relationships, we have failed those who struggle with same-sex attraction and wider society by our actions.”

Interfaith campaign

Cardinal O’Brien has led opposition to redefining marriage in what has been one of the most successful interfaith campaigns in Scottish history, with members of the Catholic Church, Church of Scotland, other Christian churches and the Jewish and Muslim communities coming together to oppose moves to open marriage to same-sex couples. Of the more than 28,000 postcards handed over on Friday, in excess of 4000 came from the Scottish Muslim community.

Dr Salah Beltagui of the Muslim Council of Scotland said the Scottish Islamic community were in agreement with the Catholic Church on this issue.

“We are totally against the ideas of same-sex couples getting married,” he said. “God created man and he created woman so they could marry and have families. Same-sex ‘marriages’ are completely out of order. No government on earth has the right to change the nature of marriage which was instituted by God.”

Clarification request

Cardinal O’Brien and Bishop Philip Tartaglia are still waiting for confirmation from the Scottish Government on whether or not foreign submissions to the consultation will be accepted.

The foreword of the consultation said that views on whether or not the definition of marriage should be changed would be sought from ‘all sections of Scottish society.’ However pro same-sex ‘marriage’ lobbying groups urged their supporters to submit responses whether or not they live in Scotland. The Scottish Government has suggested that such responses would be accepted but identified separately.

In his letter, Cardinal O’Brien has said the consultation would be ‘utterly subverted’ if foreign submission were accepted.

“Allowing thousands of respondents outwith Scotland to actively participate in our political process utterly subverts this stance,” the cardinal said. “Even to collate and separately identify non-Scottish responses would be to undermine the singular sovereignty of the Scottish people.”

Scottish Government

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said only that the government would now consider the consultation.

“The government will now analyse the responses and consider what steps to take next,” she said. “As was made clear when the consultation was launched, while we have expressed our initial view, we have given an assurance that all opinions will be listened to. No final views have been reached and therefore no decisions have been taken. The analysis of the responses will be published in the spring.”


Comments - 23 Responses

  1. Callum Leslie says:

    God created all men and gave them free will, what gives you the right to judge people, surely that is reserved for their judgement upon reaching heaven?

    • Kevin Porter says:

      If I see you running towards the edge of a cliff I’d do my best to try to stop you. I wouldn’t stand by wondering if you chose to ignore the sign deliberately or didn’t see it at all. This isn’t about judging others it’s about saving souls.

  2. Ms Rose Marshall says:

    The only way in which Scotland would fail “homosexual people” is if it allowed bigotry and personal fears dressed up in the Sunday best of religious conscience to dictate the direction of policy.

    • Kevin Porter says:

      It is obvious you know very little about the Catholic Church and are content in your ignorance or you would know the Church condemns acts not people. Homosexuality is a sin and no legislation can EVER change that. Forcing people to accept as right what is a moral wrong is bullying.

  3. Nikki says:

    Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s message is an unpopular one, and goes against what Scotland should really be striving for: a better place for EVERYONE to live in.

  4. Tony says:

    At the end of the day it is a question of religious freedom- if the Catholic church prevents the Quakers from carrying out same sex weddings in accordance with their religious beliefs then that would be a failing in justice.

  5. Robin says:

    If the Catholic Church devoted even half as much energy to dealing with child abuse as it does to preventing gay people from being happy, the world might be a better place. But alas, this obsession with other people’s sexual orientation is all-consuming.

    • Eileen McBride says:

      I cannot recall a case of a priest being accused of child abuse in Scotland in my lifetime. I am 60.

      • Janette says:

        Oh the irony (not to mention the hypocrisy, as Cardinal O’Brien has had to resign, and admits allegations against him are correct…

    • Kevin Porter says:

      You believe far too many headlines without researching the facts. You need to differentiate between accusations and proof. Recent analysis has shown that you are at least 100 time more likely to be sexually abused by a teacher than any religious figure (not just Catholic priests). In Ireland in particular, it is the Catholic Church’s own policies that are being adopted by a government that had no policy on how to deal with child abuse. I am not defending child abuse by priests, but you do need to look at this with some perspective.

  6. Desmond Fik says:

    I wonder if the Cardinal would be kind enough to provide references for the empirical evidence that he mentions.

  7. gavin says:

    Great headline: Scotland fails homosexual people.

    Doublethink at its best. Government fails a minority by treating them with respect. Church, spreading truth and love, tells minority they are emotionally and physically sick.

    Would the cardinal be good enough to give the source of his “empirical evidence”?

  8. Eve says:

    No one has suggested that the Catholic church should offer religious same-sex marriage, or indeed that any other faith should if it does not want to. Religious marriage is distinct from civil marriage; the state does not interfere with religious marriages (for instance, by telling faiths whether or not they should permit divorce, or whether they should allow both genders to institute divorce proceedings). Similarly, religions may have strong views on marriage in general, but they should not be able to interfere with strictly civil marriages. The separation of church and state is what gives different religions the freedoms that they currently have.

    As for the Jewish and Muslim communities coming together to oppose same-sex marriage, that isn’t quite accurate. Orthodox Judaism opposes same-sex marriage, but Liberal Judaism is actively campaigning for same-sex marriage and also openly ordains LGBT clergy. There are also British Muslims seeking same-sex marriage. Why should any one faith have the right to tell another faith whom it may and may not permit to marry?

  9. Philip M. McGhee says:

    But would gay marriage benefit society as a whole? The gloridication of the gay lifestyle is just one more prong in the culture of death about which Blessed John Paul II warned (along with abortion and contraception). What will be the consequences in a generations’s time? (I can live with some idea of partnerships for homosexual persons,with some prvileges of marriage. Yes, I do have gay friends, most non-Catholic clergy and have occasionally been to gay bars. I am not a homophobe.)

  10. Philip M. McGhee says:

    Does the state have to enforce every aspect of Christian Morality. Some SCO readers might be shocked to say what St. Thomas Aquinas says about the legalization of Prositution in ST II-II q.11,a 10. But then what would happen if the State decided that it had no business enforcing Judeao-Christian standards regarding murder and property rights? “You can’t enforce morality”. It’s more a matter of whose morality will be enforced.

  11. David Coleman says:

    Cardinal O’Brien, renowned for his compassion, and such a pleasant man to meet in person, demonstrably needs a wider circle of friends and demonstrably needs better sources of evidence. Who is supplying him with this demonstrably absurd misinformation? :

  12. Alastair Lings says:

    Cardinal O’Brien claims that “the empirical evidence is clear, same-sex relationships are demonstrably harmful” and “no compassionate society should ever enact legislation to facilitate or promote such relationships” (SCO, December 16).

    Perhaps His Eminence could enlighten us as to the source of his evidence against these relationships?

    An article by King and Bartlett (2006) demonstrates “that legal and social recognition of same sex relationships may reduce discrimination, increase the stability of same sex relationships, and lead to better physical and mental health for gay and lesbian people” (Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, Vol 60, p188-191).

    Given the benefits of legal recognition for same-sex relationships, how could any compassionate society deny or prohibit such unions?

    • Eileen McBride says:

      The fact that sexual relations between people of the same sex is potentially mortally sinful, is surely evidemce enough that they are harmful.

  13. Lazarus says:

    @ Alastair Lings

    You ask for empirical evidence that same sex relationships are harmful? Perhaps you should read p189 of the King and Bartlett paper you refer to: ‘Gay men and
    lesbians seem to have higher rates of anxiety, depression,
    substance use disorders, and suicidal behaviour than heterosexuals.’

    You go on to cite the article as evidence in favour of same sex relationships, but ignore the clear ‘may’ in your quote. In fact, as the authors make clear, the health benefits of gay ‘marriage’ are pure speculation based solely on the fact that existing heterosexual marriage confers health benefits on heterosexuals. In fact their considered judgment is rather:

    ‘We do not know whether gay male, same sex relationships are less enduring because of something intrinsic to being male or a gay male, the gay male subculture that encourages multiple partners, or a failure of social recognition of their relationships. The ‘‘social experiment’’ that civil unions provide will enable us to disentangle the health and social effects of this
    complex question’ (p189).

    So let’s wait and see what the result of the ‘social experiment’ in civil partnerships is before changing the law again.

  14. Patrick. O'Donovan says:

    Has anyone thought about the cost of and implications of such an uneccessary change to definition of marriage, minimum £5bn, plus heterosexual couples will not have the same rights in law as regards inheritance of property and and finance. God created the first two people, Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve!

  15. dominic s says:

    Homosexuality is not a sin, if it was so would heterosexuality be a sin; both are neutral and natural states of being.

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