Cardinal Keith O’Brien says the consultation would be ‘utterly subverted’ if “foreign submissions” were accepted. (And by “foreign”, he means from England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.)
“Allowing thousands of respondents outwith Scotland to actively participate in our political process utterly subverts this stance,” the cardinal said. “Even to collate and separately identify non-Scottish responses would be to undermine the singular sovereignty of the Scottish people.” Scottish Catholic Observer
Pay very close attention, I shall say this only once. Scotland is a country, since 1999 with devolved powers to our own parliament, within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Wales is a principality, with a smaller range of devolved powers to an Assembly. Northern Ireland is, well, complicated. Within the UK, people are free to travel without a passport. Scotland has a different legal system from England and Wales, which includes different legislation about marriage and related laws, but if you’re English born and bred you can come to Scotland to get married and you and your spouse will be recognised as legally married wherever you go in the UK. Gretna Green weddings weren’t just a McGuffin of Regency romances, they really happened because the age at which a person could get legally married without permission from their parents or guardians has always been different in Scotland. A change to marriage law in Scotland could mean that couples who could not marry in England can come to Scotland, be married here, and return home, legally wed even though the law in England wouldn’t allow it.
Will that happen with gay marriage? Nobody knows – yet. (It’s also possible that the English courts would decide that a same-sex marriage in Scotland would be recognised as a civil partnership in England.) But it’s a distinct possibility. So while no pro-equal marriage organisation called for responses from outwith Scotland, English and other UK responses to the consultation were not rejected out of hand, and the Scottish government has said they’ll separate them from the Scottish responses but give them consideration.
But, oh dear. What’s this? What organisation at 70 Wimpole Street, London, W1G 8AX, has been urgently calling for responses from outwith Scotland, which Cardinal O’Brien is so strongly against? That would be “Christian Concern for our Nation” (screencap), which is agented by Camerons Solicitors LLP from the 70 Wimpole Street address in London. And which owns the trademark of the Wilberforce Academy, which is funded by the Alliance Defense Fund (sorry, “is in association with”, thank you), a right-wing group from the US where they’ve been funding anti-gay work since 1995.
Seventeen faith groups and 24 religious leaders have written to First Minister Alex Salmond demanding assurances that Scottish Government plans to legalise same-sex marriage will respect religious freedom. … They warn the First Minister that they would “strongly oppose” any attempt to restrict same-sex marriage to purely civil ceremonies, and seek a “firm assurance from the Scottish Government that any proposed legislation will allow those religious and humanist bodies that want to conduct same-sex marriages to do so”. Herald
Now that’s the Scotland I love.