Because of legislation passing through the Scottish parliament, Scottish churches are suggesting they may be forced to stop performing weddings.
The new legislation — Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill — would see marriage redefined to include ‘same-sex’ marriage.
The Scottish parliament insists churches will not be required to marry ‘same-sex’ couples under the legislation. Similar to a bill passed in England, under the proposed Scottish law churches would be required to officially ‘opt in’ if they want perform ‘gay’ marriages. Those that do not ‘opt in’ will not be legally required to conduct them.
Nevertheless, both the Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church of Scotland are concerned they may still be vulnerable.
Under the English legislation, the Church of England chose not to opt in to performing ‘same-sex’ marriages. However, this did not stop a millionaire ‘same-sex’ couple from taking the Church of England to court demanding it be forced to marry them.
This is exactly the concern being expressed by Rev. Alan Hamilton of the Church of Scotland. Rev. Hamilton is on the Church of Scotland’s legal committee. In his presentation to a committee reviewing the Scottish legislation, Hamilton said:
“We’re also concerned that this is an invitation to take religious bodies in particular through the court system. We’re voluntary bodies; we rely on giving donations through our members. The thought of years of exhausting legal challenge, which is also incredibly expensive, is really very concerning.”
In order to stop this from happening, the Church of Scotland may be forced to stop marrying people altogether. In its 2013 General Assembly, the Church of Scotland said it would use the next two years to review the effects of the legislation before making a final decision on whether it will continue performing weddings.