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