*** DEBUG END ***

In poll, 83 per cent think that ECHR will force gay marriage

24 August 2012


Disagreeing: Cardinal O'Brien (left) and the Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, seen together, during the Pope's visit in 2010

Disagreeing: Cardinal O'Brien (left) and the Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, seen together, during the Pope's visit in 2010

TENSIONS between campaigners against same-sex marriage and political leaders in Westminster and Scotland heightened this week.

The Coalition for Marriage (C4M) ( News, 24 February), which opposes the introduction of same-sex marriage, published a poll, on Saturday, of 569 "churchgoers", which it had commissioned ComRes to carry out.

Eighty-six per cent of respondents said that they believed "that even if the Government changes the law to exempt religious buildings, this will be overturned by the European Court of Human Rights", a statement from C4M said.

Fifty-eight per cent of respondents said that they were less likely to vote for the Prime Minister at the next election, adding weight to reports that the plans to legalise same-sex marriage had damaged relations between the Conservative Party and some churchgoers (News, 15 June).

The campaign director for C4M, Colin Hart, said: "Churchgoers simply don't believe the assurances from the Government that these changes will not be forced on churches."

On Friday, the secretary of Changing Attitude Ireland, Canon Charles Kenny, said that David Cameron's "tolerant and sensitive approach" to same-sex marriage "plays well with the general public, who find it hard to understand the reaction of mainstream Churches".

At the weekend, it emerged that the RC Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, had suspended direct communication with the Scottish government on the issue of gay marriage, asking that communication take place between officials.

A spokesman for Cardinal O'Brien told BBC Scotland, on Sunday: "Cardinal O'Brien is really keen that the perspective and the position of the Catholic Church is conveyed to the Scottish government, but he isn't convinced that he necessarily has to do that in person."

A spokesman for the Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, said: "While this is an honest disagreement over policy, on a personal level relations between the First Minister and the Cardinal are extremely good."

Earlier this month, the director of the Mission and Public Affairs Division of the Archbishops' Council, the Revd Dr Malcolm Brown, responded to an article by the, Labour MP Tom Harris, who calls himself a "recovering Evangelical", and is pro gay marriage.

In his response, posted on the website of the Christian Socialist Movement, Dr Brown said that the "key point" of the senior church officials' submission to the Government's consultation on same-sex marriage ( News, 15 June) "is that the virtues of faithful homosexual relationships cannot embrace everything that is good about heterosexual marriage . . .

"Our concern is . . . to ask what sort of a society we would have if the social meaning of marriage was stripped of any expectation at all that it involved having children."

Dr Brown described the Government's consultation on the introduction of same-sex marriage as "a dog's breakfast of erroneous assumptions and begged questions".


Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events


Church Times/RSCM:

Festival of Faith and Music

26 - 28 April 2024

See the full programme on the festival website. 

Early bird tickets available


Intercultural Church for a Multicultural World

28 May 2024

A Church Times/Church House Publishing webinar

Tickets are FREE


Church Times/Modern Church:

A Political Faith?

Monday 3 June 2024

This panel will explore where Christians have come to in terms of political power and ask, where should we go next?

Online tickets available


Church Times/Modern Church:

Participating in Democracy

Monday 10 June 2024

This panel will explore the power of voting, and power beyond voting.

Online tickets available


Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards


Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)