Tag Archives: gay marriage

Alex Salmond is no Nick Clegg

I was disappointed when the SNP voted to join NATO if Scotland became independent on Friday. The only positive reason I have for voting Yes so far is that the SNP’s policy was to get rid of nuclear weapons if Scotland became independent. That policy would have been tough to maintain in the face of rUK opposition, since it would be impossible for rUK to build another base for its nuclear weapons at Faslane in the time planned between vote and independence, but it will be impossible if it’s attempted in a kind of “we want to join NATO but we’re getting rid of nuclear weapons: we don’t care that this means rUK loses its nuclear weapons” game.

As the Scotland on Sunday rightly notes, this is unrealistic: the movement in the SNP to reverse their anti-NATO policy is a means of reversing their no-nukes policy without officially saying so or needing a vote.

The other issue is the unrealistic basis of the entire debate, which was only about membership of Nato. This was endorsed, but without the SNP abandoning its opposition to nuclear weapons based in Scotland. As things now stand, the SNP is committed to Nato membership – but with the proviso that Nato’s nuclear weapons are not hosted on Scottish soil. To remain anti-nuclear while professing loyalty to Nato is an untenable position.

The Sunday Times poll noted that winning 50%+ support for independence is fundamentally dependent not on anything the SNP or Yes Scotland have announced they’re doing or campaigning for, but on whether Labour can win the 2015 election. There’s a hard core of support for independence, and from my own experience, the hard core are generally better at convincing themselves than anyone else. There’s a fairly definite proportion of people who are likely to vote No, and there’s about 17% who identify themselves, like me, as undecided.
Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Elections, Scottish Politics, Women

The Monkeysphere and Marriage

The Monkeysphere for humans is about 150 individuals: the number of people you think of as being in your social group.

I think it only fair to say that the phrase the Monkeysphere came from Cracked.com, though it’s based on serious scientific research done at the University of Liverpool:

Humans are primates, too – so do they fit into the pattern established for monkeys and apes? This is the key question which Robin Dunbar sought to answer by using the same equations to predict human social group and clique size from neocortex volume. The results were… ~150 for social group size, and ~12 for the more intimate clique size. He subsequently discovered that modern humans operate on a hierarchy of group sizes. (Research Intelligence)

The number of people in Scotland who are willing to tell any researcher with a clipboard that their sexual orientation is lesbian, gay, or bisexual, has been calculated to be 47,923. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Feng Shui Kitten Fixes Stuff, Fruit, Justice, LGBT Equality, Scottish Politics

Religious freedom in the workplace

Revd Matthew Firth preached at St Matthew’s church in Ipswich, where he was Curate, on 13th May 2012. As of the new term, he will be working Chaplain to the University of Cumbria in Carlisle:

There is something which I believe the Lord has been speaking to me about for a few months now, and it’s based on what I think is one of the most chilling verses in the Hebrew Scriptures. Judges 21:25 says this: ‘In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.’ I therefore want to say something about The King, the Kingdom, and rebellion against the King and his Kingdom…and of course I’m talking about Jesus and the Kingdom of God.

(For full text, see Matthew Firth’s Sermon.)
(For Matthew Firth’s tweeting against equal marriage in January, see Firth’s Tweets. For the rebuttal of his scientific nonsense, jump to Narth Science.)

The chaplaincy page at the University of Cumbria website says:

While the chaplaincy has a distinctively Christian flavour to it and seeks to provide opportunities for students and staff to explore the Christian faith, we also want to be a pastoral service which is well and truly open to everyone, regardless of faith or belief. So, if you do want to explore the Christian faith, we would love to accompany you on the journey. But if you are simply seeking a safe space, a listening ear or personal support, we would love to be of help in that too.

Continue reading

16 Comments

Filed under Education, LGBT Equality, Religion, Unanswerable Questions

Religious Priorities

Yesterday, all Catholic Churches in Scotland were directed to read out a “Pastoral Message on Marriage and Family Life” from the Bishops of Scotland on Marriage and Family Life from the Bishops of Scotland which was explicitly intended to let LGBT people in Scotland know that our families, and our marriages, are considered by the Catholic bishops to be unworthy and wrong. It announced a new Commission to “promote the true nature of marriage as both a human institution and a union blessed by Jesus” from which everyone not cisgendered and heterosexual is banned.

Cardinal O’Brien showed little faith in it, arguing that if same-sex couples can marry legally, this will “alter or destroy” the marriages of people to whom the Catholic Church is willing to provide pastoral support. (He doesn’t explain how.)

“The church’s teaching on marriage is unequivocal, it is uniquely, the union of a man and a woman and it is wrong that governments, politicians or parliaments should seek to alter or destroy that reality.”

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under LGBT Equality, Religion, Scottish Culture

For the love of reading

No baby is born homophobic. Or racist. Or sexist. Or with any other kind of bigotry. Babies can recognise their parents surprisingly young (that is, the people who day-to-day provide them with moment-by-moment care: sadly for Crdnl O’Brien, there’s no evidence babies understand the “natural law” of the Catholic Church which says they ought to recognise only genetic parents who are married to each other).

Blue baby rein: train driver - Pink baby reins: princessParents who want to teach their child sexism will find the surrounding culture holds a host of helpful examples, from Lego kits for girls and other “pink or blue” choices onwards – outrageously offensive or so niggling and normalised that you don’t even feel able to protest.

Parents who want to teach their child racism … usually do. Some parents get more help than others, as this honest personal testimony describes – but a host of influences make a baby born without a racist thought in his or her head turn into someone who thinks that “Asian sex gangs” are the big problem for child exploitation in the UK.

Father-son picParents who want to teach their child homophobia and transphobia have a bigger problem. Most homophobic or transphobic parents make the comfortable assumption that their child “just will” acquire their prejudices. This is true in most cases, but parents who also regard the existance of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, as inappropriate to mention to children, will often find to their horror that their child already knows one or more of “those people” long before their parents think they’re ready to be taught homophobic/transphobic bigotry.
Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Children, Education, LGBT Equality, Racism, Women

The Wonderful GAY

“Time lies frozen there. It’s always Then. It’s never Now.” The Cardinal was afraid of Now, for Now has warmth and urgency, and Then is dead and buried. Now might bring a certain knight of gay and shining courage –

Crdinl Keith O’Brien has confirmed he will no longer use any of the letters in the word ‘gay’ and stressed

he was embarking on the phonetic moratorium because he did not want to be ‘prt of the problem’.

His spokesman said:

“Luckily ‘safe words’ include Jesus, communion, crucifix and Keith O’Brien.

“However he has had to change his job to title to ‘Crdinl’.

“Also, half the word ‘Mary’ is off limits so from now on he will refer to the Holy Mother as ‘Ethel’.

“It’s not blasphemous if it’s part of a bulwark against depravity.”

The spokesman added: “Golgotha comes out as ‘Oloth’ and Calvary is just ‘Clvr’, so Easter is going to be tricky. Especially if he’s calling it ‘Ester’.”

We confirmed with the spokesman that from now on the Crdinl says Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Feng Shui Kitten Fixes Stuff, James Thurber, LGBT Equality, Religion

For the love of Christ, let me give you a hug

This blog is about love, fried chicken, incest, the Benedictine order, Saint Aelred, marriage, and the Bishop of Aberdeen. Not necessarily in that order.

The Bishop of Aberdeen, Hugh Gilbert, entered Pluscarden Abbey at Moray in 1974 and was ordained a priest in 1979: he became Abbot of Pluscarden in 1992 and is celebrated for his support of Latin liturgy:

wonderful to see that … Aberdeen will soon have a pastor known for his understanding of liturgy and the “reform of the reform” currently sweeping through the Universal Church. The Divine Office and the Mass are both sung in Latin (using Gregorian chant) at Pluscarden, and devotees of the Extraordinary Form and traditional Catholicism have always been made to feel welcome there.

Gilbert left the monastery to be ordained Bishop of Aberdeen on Monday 15th August 2011.

“The rule of St Benedict says ‘prefer nothing to the love of Christ,’” he said. “I would like to think I take a firm sense of that with me, a sense of Christ and a certainty of Christ.”

On Friday 2nd September 2011, less than three weeks after Gilbert became Bishop of Aberdeen, the Scottish government launched their consultation on gay marriage. Monica Baldwin wrote a book about her experience of entering the secular world, I Leap Over The Wall: A Return to the World after Twenty-eight Years in a Convent – she entered her convent in 1914, a few months before WWI, and came out in 1941. In 1974, when Hugh Gilbert entered his monastery, the first international conference on gay rights was held in Edinburgh: sex between men was still illegal in Scotland, and had barely been decriminalised in England and Wales.
Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Human Rights, LGBT Equality, Religion

They have run out of ideas

Willie Beck, aged 79, who plays the bagpipes to newlyweds at the Gretna House Hotel (the original marriage hotel built in 1710):

“We’ve been doing gay marriages in Gretna since it became legal. Gay marriages or marriages between a man and a woman – they’re all the same. It isn’t a big deal for us. It’s just another wedding. I’m open-minded about it. I just play the pipes the same whether it’s a man and a woman getting married or two men or two women. When they want a picture with the piper, the guys cuddle up to me as much as the lassies.”

The process of legislation in the Scottish Parliament isn’t speedy, even though there is no second chamber. This autumn the Scottish Government will produce a draft Bill legalising same-sex marriage. There will be a consultation on the draft Bill. In 2013, the legislation will be put before the Scottish Parliament, be read by Committees, and Westminster will be requested to make a change to the Equality Act to make sure any religious celebrant who doesn’t approve of same-sex marriage can refuse to conduct one. Because marriage is a complicated set of legislation, though the Act itself will likely have passed by 2014, the Scottish Government have said they are not likely to make the Act law until early 2015.

But there is really nothing much the Catholic Church in Scotland can do to stop gay marriage now. They shot their bolt when in 2011 they had 200,000 postcards pre-printed with anti gay marriage messages and sent them out to all the 200,000 Mass-going Catholics across Scotland’s 500 parishes… and then only got 28,000 of them back.

Lynda Denton owns Gretna Green’s Blacksmith’s Shop, which conducts more than 1000 weddings a year, and the Smith’s Hotel.
She said:

“If gay couples want to be married by a minister, we’ll be pleased to provide the service. Since 1754, when young couples first began running away from England to get married in Scotland, we have been all-embracing and we always will be all-embracing. People love the romanticism and the heritage of the place. It’s a lovely place to get married.”
Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under LGBT Equality, Religion, Scottish Culture

Haters hate: marriage is still love

Marriage is when two people make a legally binding vow to love, honour, and cherish each other lifelong: making each other into their closest next of kin.

Know that the haters are just trying to silence us because of bigotry. Huge waste of their time and a sad state to be in. We are actually doing things to help others. That’s a good use of time and a happy place to be. So ignore them when you can, mock them when you want a laugh and report them to the police or FBI whenever you see a credible threat and most importantly, keep doing good things. (Ask Surly Amy – How To Deal With Hate)

On Sunday afternoon over a post-gym coffee and a pastry in the new I ♥ Cafe in Leith Walk, I read a kind but muddled (and in places factually incorrect) article about marriage.

The Gay Agenda
1. Gym
2. Buy yellow mangos – they’re in season! – from Najak
3. Coffee and pastry
4. Undermine the unique importance of marriage in the world
5. Blog

Kevin McKenna writes:

My beloved church is not enjoying its finest hour as it steps up its opposition to the SNP government’s plans to permit same-sex marriages. Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under LGBT Equality, Religion

Leaked email: no equal marriage

The SNP’s Yes Scotland declaration:

“I believe that it is fundamentally better for us all, if decisions about Scotland’s future are taken by the people who care most about Scotland, that is, by the people of Scotland.

Being independent means Scotland’s future will be in Scotland’s hands.

There is no doubt that Scotland has great potential. We are blessed with talent, resources and creativity. We have the opportunity to make our nation a better place to live, for this and future generations. We can build a greener, fairer and more prosperous society that is stronger and more successful than it is today.

I want a Scotland that speaks with her own voice and makes her own unique contribution to the world: a Scotland that stands alongside the other nations on these isles, as an independent nation.”

The quasi-legal argument some religionist objectors make to same-sex marriage is:

  • They claim that people who “speak out against it” might need special protection.
  • There’s no evidence for this. Neither in any of the countries in which same-sex marriage has been made legal, nor in any example of a religionist saying hateful things about LGBT people in the UK.

    Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Elections, LGBT Equality, Scottish Politics