Cardinal O’Brien renews call for support of campaign defending marriage
Cardinal Keith O’Brien has urged renewed support of the Church’s campaign against same-sex ‘marriage,’ which he said is tapping into strong and deeply held feelings amongst many Scots.
“While tens of thousands of Defend Marriage cards have already been completed and returned many more remain available in parishes,” the cardinal told the SCO this week.
“If you have not yet filled out a postcard, calling on the Scottish Government to preserve, protect and defend marriage, I urge you to do so now. Several weeks remain in which our Parliamentary Office can receive and process the cards. Please use the remaining weeks to make sure your voice is heard.”
The cardinal said this as the Church sent out a second wave of 100,000 postcards to help people make their opposition to redefining marriage known. He added that many parishes had run out of their first set of postcards very quickly.
“We have been over-whelmed at the take-up,” Cardinal O’Brien said. “It’s crystal clear that it underlines the strength and depth of the opposition to same-sex marriage.”
The Scottish Government is currently consulting on whether to change the definition of marriage. The consultation document says the Scottish Government’s initial view is that it supports ‘same-sex’ marriage.
The consultation period ends December 9.
John Deighan, the Scottish Bishops’ parliamentary officer, said: “It is vitally important than anyone who hasn’t already completed and returned a postcard in defence of marriage does so now. We are able to accept cards right up until the end of the first week of December so I would urge parishioners everywhere, to act while they can.”
Mr Deighan is also ‘delighted that a team of volunteers have offered to process the Defend Marriage postcards.’
“They are working with our newly appointed campaign coordinator Josephine Lee,” he said.
Scottish Muslim leaders have also indicated they wish to work with the Church to halt any change to the meaning of marriage. Bashir Maan, spokesman for Glasgow Central Mosque, the largest in Scotland, said last week that senior figures from both groups will meet to discuss a joint response to the contentious plans.
“We will talk about how we can try to influence the government. We don’t want them to go ahead with this,” Mr Maan said. “Civil partnerships are enough. Why go further and offend people?”
The mosque’s leader has also written to the First Minister, urging him to think again before proceeding with the ‘very dangerous legislation.’
Mohammed Tufail Shaheen, president of Glasgow Central Mosque, wrote to Alex Salmond earlier this month.
“Passing this legislation would further encourage homosexuality and increase the number of same-sex marriages,” he said. “If this trend continues, what would become of our society?”
However the new leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson, said she intended to support the Scottish Government’s plans.
Miss Davidson, who is herself in a same-sex relationship, did say she does not want religious organisations to be forced to carry out same-sex weddings against their wishes.
“On the issue of same-sex marriage I support it,” she said. “But with the important proviso that there is no compulsion for religious organisations that do not wish to carry out ceremonies to be compelled to do so.”
— Ask your parish priest for a supply of Defend Marriage postcards or, if none are available in your parish, contact the Catholic Parliamentary Office on 0141 222 2182