Patrick Harvie says the "democratic process is the only basis of authority for making law" (Letters, March 9).

Why not therefore implement such reasoning and hold a referendum in Scotland on what is proving to be an extremely controversial issue? That would secure a more clear definition of public opinion rather than founding thoughts pertaining to the public mood on the results of a survey of a limited section of the citizenry of Scotland often cited by Equality Network and similar lobby groups.

Paul Brownsey's case in favour gay marriage appears to be founded upon the notion that life went into a sea change when someone saw a black swan for the first time. I am now wondering what kind of seismic shift in societal perceptions occurred when the first black sheep was noticed.

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Turning to Professor William G. Naphy's views, I am content in this context to run the risk of such power of the state coming back to bite me and so I believe are many others.

I would only add that I find the sound of silence emanating from SNP MSPs on this subject extremely interesting. Their Trappist-like behaviour in relation to this matter will, in the not-too distant future, have to be departed from whether they like it or not.

Ian W Thomson,

38 Kirkintilloch Road,

Lenzie.

The detractors of Michael McGrath and his views on marriage may think they wish simply to marginalise the influence of religion in society but, in their determination to achieve their goal of redefining marriage, it is reason that they actually wish to set aside.

It is staggering that the nature of a union between a man and a woman can be equated as the same as a union between two men or of two women. Even if one were to believe that the latter are better types of relationship, must we really abandon reality and say they are in fact the same?

Is it really such a stretch, in the case of Professor Naphy, to recognise that reason and the Church affirm the same reality when they both recognise the nature of marriage? Marriage is what it is, and it is quite a perverse logic which sees a refusal by the state to redefine it as an excessive exercise of power. I suppose a refusal to redefine black swans as white swans would be a similar act of political tyranny.

We are witnessing an abandonment of reason on this issue which puts all of us at the mercy of whoever happens to be socially powerful.

John Deighan,

Parliamentary Officer,

Catholic Parliamentary Office,

5 St Vincent Place,

Glasgow.