Scottish Cabinet Rejects Call for a Referendum on Marriage Equality Law
The Scottish Parliament has rejected Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s request that any decision about legalizing same-gender marriage be reached by a referendum rather than by legislative process.
The BBC reports that Scotland’s Cabinet ejected the request from the Cardinal of St. Andrew’s and Edinburgh, and said that a committee would be established to further examine legal issues in the marriage equality bill:
” . . . [A government] spokesman said: ‘This is an important issue and it is right that cabinet takes the time to get both the principle and the detail of the decision right.
” ‘During the discussion, recent calls for a referendum on the subject were carefully considered. However, cabinet views this as an issue of conscience not constitution.
” ‘Given that if a bill is brought forward it should in the view of the Scottish government be determined by a free vote, cabinet has concluded that a referendum would not be appropriate.
” ‘Cabinet has now asked a cabinet sub-committee, led by the deputy first minister, to further examine some particular issues of detail before a final decision is reached.
” ‘We remain committed to publishing the consultation responses and our clear decision on the way forward before the end of this month.’ “
The Cardinal had made his request for a referendum earlier this week.
London’s Telegraph newspaper report carried Cardinal O’Brien’s mixed reaction to the government’s announcement:
“Cardinal O’Brien welcomed the subcommittee but attacked the decision not to hold a referendum. ‘The serious implications for freedom of belief and expression of redefining marriage should be as important to a free society as any constitutional matter,’ he said.”
The report also noted that a national consultation, a process of soliciting the public’s input on a bill, was held on marriage equality, a record 80,000 people responded.
Gay Star News carried the reaction of Tim Hopkins, chair of Scotland’s Equality Network, who is working for the passage of a marriage equality law:
“We agree with the Scottish government that a referendum would be completely inappropriate.
“We very much hope that the Scottish government is taking this two week delay to get the details of same-sex marriage in Scotland right.
“We have always said that religious bodies, including the Catholic Church, should be free to decide for themselves whether or not to do same-sex marriages. Religious freedom works both ways, and it’s time the Cardinal acknowledged that religions like the Unitarians and Liberal Jews, who want to do same-sex marriages, should be free to do so.”
Cardinal O’Brien has already made several high-profile statements into Scotland’s marriage equality debate, including his recent decision to spend 100,000 British pounds and establish a special Sunday campaign against equal marriage legislation.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry
If the Catholic church and hierarchy used the referendum method to establish its practices, so many things would be different. In fact Catholics more and more are making up their own minds on issues rather than listening to what the hierarchs say. The Spirit is still and does not limit herself to the one who wears whilte or those who wear red or purple dresses.
That is the SPIRIT is still ACTIVE !!!!
Human Rights and Equality are not decided by referendum. If there is Human Rights legislation, just add glbt to the list.