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Stuart Cameron

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If/when same-sex marriage is legalised, should ALL religious bodies be required by law to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies?

So, some people may know that here in Scotland there has been a public consultation on same-sex marriage (and it's looking extremely promising!). One of the questions in the consultation was as follows:

"Do you agree that religious bodies should not be required to conduct same-sex marriages or civil partnerships if it is against their wishes?"

So what are your thoughts? As an abstract idea, should religion be able to have its own say? In the context of Scotland, should religion have its own say? Bearing in mind that our government is supposed to be separate from church/religion. Why?

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    Dec 15 2011: Religious institutions do and should have their own autonomy different from the state. Religiously-sanctioned marriages are not like vaccines; same-sex marriages are not contingent on their approval the way health can be contingent on getting vaccinated. As a slightly separate point I wonder how many people would want their marriage blessed by a vicar who believed it was intrinsically wrong, or by one who was grudgingly doing so. Given that there are religious institutions/leaders that will and do support gay marriage, (I'm talking rather specifically of Christianity, so forgive the unfortunate narrowness of this point) would it not make more sense to find a church that was willing and open to conduct a gay marriage rather than ruin the most pivotal day of a one's life by forcing someone else's hand and extracting an unwilling blessing?

    Whilst I fundamentally disagree with the idea of making religious bodies conduct same-sex marriages against their will I can understand the argument for a blanket rule that makes it technically compulsory but with the option for churches to 'opt-out' if they so desire. This changes the relationship between marriage and religion.

    Talking abstractly, given the major universal changes required, I can see the benefits of making the definition of marriage by law into 'an (eternal) union between two consenting adults' thus making every religious institution that wants to conduct marriages do so according to the law (but w the choice to opt out). As though opting out is discriminatory the fact that the universal perception of marriage is inclusive makes the entire framework less hostile to gay people who want to marry. Currently it looks more like a framework for heterosexuals that gay people are gradually being allowed into, I think that perception of marriage is what needs to change and that is a bigger problem than the one this question asks, although it is itself intriguing.

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