Your story quoted campaigners opposed to traditional marriage suggesting the Scotland For Marriage poll was highly misleading and biased ("Same-sex marriage poll is branded 'misleading'", The Herald, March 15).

In fact, it is anything but as readers who read the accompanying advert or visit can clearly see. The wording of the poll was clear, accurate and, most important of all, it was published.

This is in stark contrast to a two-year-old poll cited by proponents of same-sex marriage to support their case. In 2010 the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey (SSAS) asked a question on attitudes to homosexuality, it purported to show that a majority agreed with same-sex relationships. Apart from the fact that the data involved is still being recycled even though it is two years old, the question asked was not about same-sex marriage, which is the point at issue now. Crucially, therefore, the SSAS results are not relevant to this debate.

Interestingly, though rarely reported, the full title of the report concerned is "Scottish Social Attitudes Survey – Attitudes to Discrimination and Positive Action". The often excluded suffix tends to suggest advocacy rather than objectivity.

Polling evidence does show that a climate of fear and intimidation exists here. Same-sex marriage advocates are quick to turn to slurs and smear tactics whenever they are criticised or questioned. Labelling opponents bigots or homophobes rather than engaging with and responding to objections leaves many fearful of entering this debate. Shutting down discussion is never good for democracy. It would be the ultimate irony if the pursuit of "tolerance" were to become so tyrannical that freedom of expression was crushed in its wake.

Peter Kearney,


Catholic Media Office,

5 St Vincent Place,


John Deighan of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, though opposing the Government's planned legislation on equal marriage, at one point agrees that the freedom of religious bodies should be respected (Letters, March 9 & 14). This surely implies that the law should neither compel religious bodies to treat same-sex couples equally, nor prohibit them from doing so – which is precisely what the Government proposes.

Nonetheless, he does address the nub of the issue. He claims that it is wrong, in fact "contrary to reason", to equate same-sex and mixed-sex couples. Those of us who have campaigned for equality, from decriminalisation onward, think we are equal to our fellow citizens and deserve to be treated as such.

I have frequently asked if anyone can provide a coherent reason why same-sex couples should be treated as inferior to mixed-sex couples.

I have heard arguments based on ignorance or plain old-fashioned bigotry, and others which amount to imposing a religious view on those who don't subscribe to religion.

I have never heard a reason which doesn't fail on one or both of these grounds. If there is such an argument, let's hear it.

If not, let's get on with things and see equal marriage legislation as soon as possible.

Patrick Harvie MSP,

Green Group,

Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh.

John Deighan insists that, in its opposition to same-sex civil marriage, "The Catholic Church simply supports reason".

Unfortunately, he does not explain how reason, rather than opposition on religious doctrinal grounds, requires such opposition. Certainly, if – and that is a big if – the point of marriage is procreation, as he has suggested, then reason requires that marriage be denied to those unable to procreate. But in that case, reason demands, as well, that mixed-sex couples be denied marriage if they cannot procreate. I look forward to Mr Deighan's advocacy, based on reason, for the denial of marriage to a man and a woman who fall in love in a residential home for the elderly. Such opposition is what reason dictates if same-sex marriage is not to be countenanced because it is not directly reproductive.

Paul Brownsey,

19 Larchfield Road, Bearsden.