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Key voices in the same-sex marriage debate

For

Patrick Harvie, MSP (Greens): “Allowing couples to get married, irrespective of gender, will strengthen marriage, just as giving women the vote strengthened democracy.”

Tom French, Equality Network: "For most people this is a simple question of love, equality and fairness. If a same-sex couple love each other and want to get married, then why should they be banned from doing so. There can be no excuse for continuing to deny same-sex couples equality under the law."

The Scottish Government: “The Government tends towards the view that same sex marriage should be introduced but believes that faith groups and their celebrants should not be obliged to solemnise same sex marriages.”

Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats: “If two people want to get married and a church wants to conduct the service why should anyone stop them? Liberal Democrats want a tolerant and fair society and equal marriage is a key part of that.”

Alex Salmond, First Minister: “I’m very much against imposing it on any religion. But ... if a denomination is prepared to accept gay marriage then I’m in favour of it.”

Reverend Scott Rennie, Queen's Cross Church, Aberdeen: "While the Kirk may not yet be in a position to celebrate equal marriage itself, it is disappointing that it has used its voice to deny the possibility to any other religious community. It seems there is still a long way to go before gay people, and their loving relationships, are valued by the Church of Scotland."

Grant Costello, chairman of the Scottish Youth Parliament: The young people of Scotland have told us that two people who love each other should be able to get married, and it is now up to us to lobby the government and ask politicians to listen to them and make their voice heard. Our message to Scotland is that all laws regarding homosexual relationships, whether male or female, should be equal to those of heterosexual relationships"

Robin Waterston, Quaker Scotland clerk, in the group’s submission to the consultation: “We seek a permissive law which allows religious freedom, which allows the possibility of same sex couples marrying within a religious context if that is what both they and their religious communities wish, while not putting anyone in a position where they have to act against their conscience.”

John Barrowman, actor: “Being gay is not, as they claim, against the laws of nature. I was born this way. And there’s a reason I was born this way. I didn’t decide to wake up gay one morning. If two people love each other enough and want to call what they have a ‘marriage’, regardless of their sex, shouldn’t we let them do that? Otherwise, we’re in the Dark Ages again.”

Against

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland: “Marriage has always existed in order to bring men and women together so that children born of those unions will have a mother and a father. If the Scottish Government attempt to demolish a universally recognised human right they will have forfeited the trust which the nation, including peoples of all faith and no faith, have placed in them, and their intolerance will shame Scotland in the eyes of the world.”

The pastors of 70 evangelical churches, in an letter to Alex Salmond: “Government did not invent marriage, and it is astonishing that it is seeking to legally redefine it at the behest of a small minority. What is to stop it being redefined further? There is a very real risk of definition-creep. If marriage is redefined, who is to say that, for example, polygamy should not be legalised?”

Mario Conti, Archbishop of Glasgow: “There is a hugely significant number of Scots who are not only opposed to this change for very sound reasons but who would, even after such a change, continue to hold that there cannot be a moral equivalence between the two forms of union. A change in the law will effectively render such people in a sense unlawful, vulnerable to accusations of discrimination, and in danger in some circumstances, of losing their jobs.”

Gordon Wilson, former SNP leader and chairman of the Christian charity Solas: “We do not... think that instigating gay marriage and thus undermining even further the Christian foundations of this society will lead to a better or fairer nation. Indeed in our view, it will lead to further social disintegration, sexual confusion and greater intolerance”

Bashir Maan, spokesman for Glasgow Central Mosque: “We don’t want them to go ahead with this. Civil partnerships are enough. Why go further and offend people?”

Sir Tom Farmer, entrepreneur and founder of Kwik-Fit: “Most people would see a marriage as being between two of the opposite sexes, the male and the female. One of the most important areas of marriage is the creation of children, and the family life.

Philip Tartaglia, Bishop of Paisley: “marriage is uniquely the union of a man and a woman, which, by its very nature, is designed for the mutual good of the spouses and to give the children who may be born of that union a father and a mother. A same-sex union cannot do that. A same-sex union should not therefore be called marriage”.

Ann Allen, campaigner: “Is this the kind of scenario we want in a modern Scotland? A continual change of the moral and legal goalposts?”

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