THE draconian impact of proposed gay marriage laws on Scotland have been revealed by a leading QC.
Workers could be sacked for opposing unions between gays and lesbians. Ministers and priests face being sued for refusing to allow wedding ceremonies to take place in their churches. Schoolchildren would be forced to attend gay history lessons. And couples will be rejected as foster parents if they oppose the new legislation. The legal opinion confirms that the Scottish Government's reassurances on religious liberty are hollow because discrimination law is controlled by the Westminster parliament, not Holyrood.
A spokesman for umbrella opposition group Scotland For Marriage, which commissioned the legal opinion, said:
This judgement lays bare Scottish Government promises of exemptions and protections for churches as completely worthless.
"The Scottish Government are offering blank cheques which they will not be able to cash.
This detailed legal analysis shows same sex marriage is not about allowing same sex couples to walk up the aisle as politicians and campaigners have wrongly claimed, it is about redefining society.
"Sadly, not one of the MSP's who signed up for same sex marriage was in possession of the legal facts, they have supported a law which would outlaw religion and belief in many walks of life and actively discriminate against their constituents, they should be ashamed of their actions and they should think again."
The full impact the proposed legislation will have on the fabric of Scottish society has been revealed in a forensic examination of the issue undertaken by leading QC Aidan O'Neill for the Scotland For Marriage group which is opposed to the new law redefining marriage and is backed by both religious and non-religious groups within Scottish society.
Mr O'Neill was asked to study the possible implications for freedom of conscience and the exercise of religious liberty should the Scottish Government remove the current legal impediment to marriage where ¦both parties are of the same sex." His conclusions reveal an enormous impact on day-to-day life for everyone.
Mr O'Neill states: Once a State has legislated to allow for the possibility of marriage between two individuals regardless of their sex or gender, then the full panoply of non-discrimination law would apply to prevent any discrimination among the married on the basis that their spouse was same sex or opposite sex. Any difference in treatment between the same sex married and the opposite sex married could be caught both by a prohibition against discrimination on grounds of sex and on grounds of sexual orientation."
The Scottish Government says its proposed legislation would contain clauses exempting clerics of all denominations and traditions from conducting same-sex marriages against their will - a religious opt out in effect.
However, the promise would be worthless once the redefinition of marriage becomes effective and the proposed legislation comes into force for the law would become a stepping stone for the gay rights lobby, using European human rights legislation, to eventually force the government to capitulate and remove the clauses preventing the performance of the same-sex marriages by certain institutions or individuals.
In March, European judges ruled that while gay marriage is NOT a human right, churches could be forced to perform gay marriages.
If a member state decides to allow gay marriage, but treats homosexual married couples differently that allows a potential challenge under European human rights law.
So, if the Scottish Government introduces gay marriage but bans gay couples from getting married in a church while allowing heterosexual couples to do so, the Scottish Government could find itself taken to the European Court of Human Rights.
That means the government s promise that gay weddings won t be forced on churches, synagogues, or mosques, may turn out to be one they can t keep. The implications would be enormous, according to Scotland For Marriage.
The group asked QC O Neill to give his views on several scenarios under the new law and his opinion makes alarming reading on many fundamental issues.
On church weddings:
What happens when same sex marriage becomes lawful in Scotland and churches are allowed to celebrate religious same sex marriages and the Scottish Government reassures churches that religious bodies and celebrants are under no compulsion to solemnize same sex marriage?
One minister is in charge of a small country parish church which many couples wish to get married at because of its picturesque setting.
A same sex couple ask to get married in the church but the minister refuses because of his commitment to traditional marriage, which he asserts is in line with biblical teaching and the definition of marriage set forth in the historic confessional standard of the Church of Scotland.
The couple sues the minister, alleging a claim of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
Director of Communications for the Scottish Catholic Media Office
Mob: 07968 122291
Head of Communications at The Christian Institute
Mob: 07736 957579