Thursday 8 December 2011
Bishops seek clarification on consultation
Cardinal Keith O'Brien and Bishop Philip Tartaglia have today (Thursday 8 December) written to the First Minister and the Deputy First minister respectively seeking urgent clarifications on the Scottish Government's 'Same Sex Marriage' consultation.
The consultation which began 14 weeks ago sought views on whether or not the definition of marriage should be changed. In the Ministerial Forward to the Consultation, Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon wrote; "We want to hear from all sections of Scottish society"
In recent weeks same sex campaign groups outwith Scotland have urged people to submit responses whether or not they live in Scotland. The Scottish Government appeared to concede that such responses would be accepted but identified separately.
In his letter, Cardinal O'Brien points out that in his speech to the SNP Conference in October, the First Minister said on the matter of the Independence referendum; "The people of Scotland “ the sovereign people of Scotland “ are now in the driving seat." and concluded; "The Scottish people will set the agenda for the future.
The Cardinal adds that; "Allowing thousands of respondents outwith Scotland to actively participate in our political process utterly subverts this stance. Even to collate and separately identify non-Scottish responses would be to undermine the singular sovereignty of the Scottish people which you have so eloquently upheld"
Both Cardinal O'Brien and Archbishop Tartaglia call for an urgent clarification that only submissions from Scotland will be evaluated by the Scottish Government and that all responses whether sent via the online response form or any any other means will be counted.
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Note to Editors:
1. The Bishops' intervention coincides with the delivery by the Catholic Church's Parliamentary Office of 28,000 postcards to the Scottish Government supporting marriage and urging the Government not to redefine or destroy its meaning.
2. Scottish Government consultation: