Kirk votes to allow gay clergy marriages – BBC News

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has voted to allow ministers to continue to serve if they are in a gay marriage.The historic vote on the first day of this year’s gathering in Edinburgh draws a line under a row which has split the Kirk for nine years.Commissioners voted by 339 votes to 215 in favour of the move.The decision means that same sex civil marriage will be permitted for ministers.However, they will not themselves be allowed to conduct gay weddings within the church.

Source: – BBC News

Gay Marriage, Scotland

The marriage equality juggernaut rolls along:

Scotland’s same-sex marriage bill is passed

A bill which allows same-sex weddings to take place in Scotland has been passed by MSPs in the Scottish Parliament.

MSPs voted by 105 to 18 in favour of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill.

The Scottish government said the move was the right thing to do but Scotland’s two main churches were opposed to it.

The first gay and lesbian weddings could take place this autumn.

Religious and belief bodies can “opt in” to perform same-sex marriages.

Ministers said no part of the religious community would be forced to hold such ceremonies in churches.

Equal Marriage campaigners gathered outside the Scottish Parliament

During a debate at Holyrood, MSPs rejected amendments which were said to provide “protection” for groups and individuals opposed to same-sex marriage.

The SNP’s John Mason tabled an amendment stating that no-one could be “compelled by any means” to solemnise gay marriage, including by a contract or a legal requirement.

Continue reading : BBC Scotland news

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Catholic Singer: “I want my Catholic Church to support equal marriage”

Scottish singer and TV presenter Michelle McManus has said she disagrees with her Catholic Church’s opposition to equal marriage, in a video recorded for the Equality Network’s It’s Time campaign.

In her video, the Glaswegian singer who is best known for winning Pop Idol said: “I disagree with how my own religion views same-sex marriages, but then being a modern Catholic, most modern Catholics do disagree with a lot of these man-made laws.”

She added: “I support equal marriage for all because we live in 2013 and I don’t think any human should be treated any differently from another. I think it’s absolutely absurd that we all don’t have the same human rights.”

McManus is a devout Roman Catholic and performed two songs for Pope Benedict XVI at a Mass in Bellahouston Park as part of the former Pope’s visit to Scotland in 2010.

Studies suggest that a majority of Catholics in Scotland support equal marriage, including the respected Scottish Social Attitudes Survey (2010) which showed 54% of Scottish Catholics support same-sex marriage while only 25% oppose

continue reading at  – PinkNews.co.uk.

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Scotland’s gay marriage bill to come before Holyrood within a month

The Scottish government has confirmed it will introduce a bill within the month to allow same-sex marriage.

A consultation on the proposed Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill closed in March, but the responses have yet to be published.

Ministers promised to change the law, but also to protect the rights of religious groups who do not want to carry out such ceremonies.

The Church of Scotland and Roman Catholic Church are against the plans.

Once the legislative proposal is lodged at parliament it will undergo scrutiny before committee members and in the chamber.

From Democracy Live: Alex Neil updates MSPs on gay marriage

The government said the bill would also allow civil ceremonies to take place at a location other than a registrar’s office.

Alex Neil told MSPs that the bill would be introduced in the current parliamentary sessions.

Talks have been taking place with the UK Government because ministers at Holyrood believe an amendment is needed to UK equalities legislation to protect individual celebrants who may not want to conduct same-sex ceremonies even if their church, as an organisation, backs them.

Health secretary Mr Neil said “substantial progress” had been made on the issue in discussions with UK Culture Secretary Maria Miller.

The UK government’s plans to legalise gay marriage cleared the House of Commons last week.

– continue reading at  BBC News 

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Shadow of shame: The conflict facing gay priests

gay priests

DANI Garavelli talks to a gay priest about living in the shadow of shame cast by the conflict of his vocation and his sexuality

LOOKING back from a distance of more than 20 years, Fr Joe can see that his decision to join the priesthood was motivated in part by his homosexuality. Coming of age in the 1970s, when there was still a huge stigma attached to coming out as gay, it provided an alternative to getting married and having children.

“I was hugely idealistic and genuinely believed in the priesthood, but I think it was also the only respectable way to be Catholic and single,” he says. “I wouldn’t have recognised it at the time, but I think I was trying to escape having to tell my family about my sexuality or even having to face up to it properly ­myself.”

Once ordained, however, he realised being gay in a church which considers ­homosexuality to be intrinsically disordered brings problems of its own. Prey to the same temptations as everyone else, but unable to talk openly about them, many homosexual priests find themselves feeling undervalued and ­isolated. Trying to navigate their way in a highly sexualised society, with little or no pastoral support, it’s hardly surprising if they sometimes find it difficult to keep their vows.

“I think celibacy is always a struggle, it’s the same for all priests – in fact it’s the same for married people – you try to keep your integrity, to stay true to what you have been called to, ” says Fr Joe, who was a priest in Scotland but has now moved abroad. “I belong to a religious order that means you live with other guys; it means you have emotional support and your chances of being ­lonely are less. The ones I feel really sorry for are the diocesan priests who are alone in a parish. I think celibacy must be even more difficult for them. They have no-one to confide in when they are feeling low or horny or any other normal ­human way of feeling.”

As with any same-sex environment, such as a boarding school or prison, there can also be a kind of “super-heated effect” in the seminary or church where, regardless of sexual orientation, men have crushes on other men and that is more likely to spill over into sexual ­behaviour when the whole subject of sexuality is taboo. “I think that is something gay men in the Church are prone to,” Fr Joe says. “Because the subject is hidden, it creates this secret club kind of environment because priests who are gay are only likely to be open with other priests who are gay, you become part of a secret club, not because you want to, but because your peers are your support group.”

Fr Joe’s experiences are not rare. Studies have suggested the priesthood attracts a disproportionate number of gay men, with Dominican Friar-turned-journalist Mark Dowd suggesting earlier this week, the figure could be as high as 50 per cent. Such statistics have become headline news because even as the Church has become increasingly strident in its position on such issues as gay marriage it is being claimed that an increasing number of homosexual priests, Bishops and even Cardinals are breaking their vow of chastity.

– continue reading at  Scotsman.com.

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Scottish government rules out same-sex marriage referendum

The Scottish government has ruled out a referendum on the proposed introduction of same-sex marriage.

On Monday, Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, urged the Scottish government to hold a public vote on the proposals.

A government spokesman, speaking after a cabinet meeting, said the issue was a matter of conscience, not constitution.

He said a decision on whether to bring forward a bill on same-sex marriage would be made before the end of July.

Members of the cabinet met in Edinburgh to discuss the issue.

After the meeting, the 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.”

-more at BBC News 

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Scottish Cabinet Discussing Gay Marriage

The Scottish cabinet is expected to discuss plans to legislate for same-sex marriage when it meets later.

SNP ministers, who favour the move, are due to announce legislation this week in the wake of a consultation which resulted in 80,000 responses.

The proposals, which would see Scotland become the first part of the UK to introduce the policy, have provoked opposition from some religious groups.

The Catholic Church and Church of Scotland strongly oppose the policy.

Same-sex couples in Scotland currently have the option to enter into civil partnerships and the Holyrood government has insisted no part of the religious community would be forced to hold same-sex weddings in churches.

The introduction of gay marriage has been backed by a “rainbow coalition” of organisations, including The Equality Network, Amnesty International, Unison and the Humanist Society of Scotland, as well as political parties.

Faith groups, including the United Reformed Church, the Quakers, Buddhists and the Pagan Federation also support the move

– BBC News.

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