In the last post, a list of the legislation for the next year at Holyrood, Niko made an observation about the problems that were likely ensue apropos the legislation to equalise the right to marriage for same sex couples on the same basis as heterosexual couples.
Although individual MSPs with strong religious loyalty or beliefs will be likely to vote against their parties' policies as a matter of conscience, just for once, the most likely source of dissension will be outside of the parliamentary chamber, in pulpits of various denominations across Scotland.
Ruth Davidson has already said that she supports gay marriage, and this is unlikely to alter as David Cameron has launched a consultation on the issue in England and Wales and has indicated that it has his personal support. Ruth doesn't make a habit of going against David Cameron's will.
Johann Lamont is proud that it was Labour that introduced civil partnerships, and in a letter to the First Minister asked him to ensure that the parliamentary motion raised by John Mason, which was signed by a number of SNP MSPs did not reflect the views of the SNP as a whole. Yesterday's announced legislation would, I imagine, prove that, and it would be nice to imagine that Johann is happy, although, somehow I doubt it. She has to square the circle cause by a Willie Bain tweet indicating that Labour never backs SNP proposals regardless of what they are!
Johann should also, of course, remember that religious views and church pressure have in the past precluded members of her own party supporting Labour legislation.
Willie Rennie has been more enthusiastic than any other leader, even wanting the First Minister to commit to introducing the legislation before the consultation was complete and Patrick Harvie joins with other Scottish party leaders in supporting the proposals.
From what I read in yesterday's announcement, the proposed law will put no obligation on religious leaders to carry out these marriages in their churches. As at present, with heterosexual marriages, priests will be free to refuse to marry people for whatever reason.
I think that this is a fair compromise.
Although people with deeply held religious views may be required in their jobs, to carry out tasks which they find distasteful, I can certainly see that it would be wrong to force an institution such as the Catholic Church, to go against its principles on a daily basis.
So, registrars, employed by local authorities, must be obliged to carry out their duties, whether it be marrying gay couples, or registering the birth of children who were born out of wedlock, as doctors or nurses must be prepared to give birth control advice regardless of whether it infringes their personal views. If they feel strongly enough, they have the option to resign their positions. This is different from expecting a whole church to be complicit in something that they preach against.
We are already in a situation where same sex couples can commit to civil partnerships which are marriage in all but name. It's not like the Bill will give gays any more privileges, or responsibilities... just the right to call their marriage a marriage.
Those with deeply held religious beliefs should surely never have stopped campaigning against everything since sex between same sex couples was legalised, for surely it is sex which is against the world of the Lord, not the fact that they live together in a loving relationship.
One of the things I find most strange about views I've read or heard on this proposed legislation, which, after all really won't change anything except the name of the institution into which gay people who "marry" will enter, is the claim that heterosexual marriage will be devalued by homosexuals having the same rights.
I would have thought that if people were looking for examples of the devaluing of the institution of marriage, they need look no further than say prince Charles and Diana Spencer. Charlie got married one afternoon, and that evening was heard by his new wife, on the telephone to his lover, arranging to meet after the honeymoon. Having promised before the head of his mother's church, that very day, to love her to the exclusion of all others, till death they did part. He went on having a relationship with this woman, destroying his marriage, his wife's health, and nearly, some would say, the monarchy, and once his wife was dead he married her, despite it going against the teachings of the church that he will presumably one day head. That is all pretty devaluing, don't you think?
Or there is Elizabeth Taylor, who managed to promise life long devotion and fidelity on no fewer than 8 occasions. Or what about Jordan who married a cross-dressing cage fighter, quietly in Las Vegas with just a few friends, including the "Hello" team, and then ditched him shortly afterwards when there was no more publicity to be wrung from him and his weird antics? Lesser known, but no less devaluing is this little tale. Till death, or four days later, us part.
I doubt that gay partnership devalues marriage more that these examples.
I have to say to the likes of ex-SNP leader Gordon Wilson, that if the fact that two women can marry taints someone's marriage, then there is something wrong with that marriage in the first place, and as allowing gay sex hasn't discouraged heterosexual sex, I don't think that gay marriage will discourage heterosexual marriage.
What may discourage marriage is that statistics show that nearly 50% of marriages in the UK end in divorce. Both marriage and divorce are excessively expensive. Money is tight. It is economically not worth getting married.