A leading Government MSP will break ranks with his Party and vote against the Bill to redefine marriage.
Fergus Ewing, MSP, is the Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism and he has indicated that he will not support the SNP Government’s Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill. He is likely to be the most senior minister to break ranks in the Government.
The SNP Government’s Bill to redefine marriage was introduced on 26 June 2013 and has been discussed in various committees. It will now come before the Scottish Parliament next Wednesday 20/11/2013, which will debate the Bill at Stage 1.
The Bill proposes calling homosexual partnerships “marriage” and makes various changes to the law on marriage and civil partnerships.Mr Ewing has written to one of his constituents
: “I do not believe that there should be nor can there be a redefinition of marriage, and shall not be supporting this Bill. It is also the case that I am aware of very strong opposition to this Bill amongst my constituents, a great many of whom have taken the trouble to write to me expressing their views, and concerns.”
The lead committee is the Equal Opportunities Committee. In an extraordinary example of the tail wagging (or nagging?) the dog, the Committee advises the Parliament in its Report: “We recommend to members of the Parliament to approach the Stage 1 decision with the same dignified tenor as our evidence sessions and with due respect for a diversity of views.” Evidently it does not have confidence that the Scottish Parliament will debate this issue with suitable decorum.Will it be a fight, a skirmish or a walkover?
The Scottish Christian Party welcomes Mr Ewing’s position and commitment to real marriage.
Last year, the SCP called for the organisation of stronger opposition among MSPs. Instead, most MSPs opposed to redefining marriage have been distinctly mute, with notable exceptions such as John Mason, the SNP MSP for Glasgow Shettleston and a member of the Equal Opportunities Committee.
In the absence of such public organisation by opposing MSPs, defeatism is in the air. Mr Ewing gives little hope of serious opposition. He writes: “The Bill will I suspect receive majority support when it is considered on Wednesday next week, but I myself shall not support this bill either then or at the final stage, called stage three, when it comes back to the full chamber of Parliament.” It is one thing for MSPs to vote against a Bill, but the SCP looks for serious opposition.
In December 2012, Dr Donald Boyd, leader of the SCP, asked: “Is there enough cross-party Christian will to meet publicly to encourage the Scottish Government to follow the lead of the Australian parliament? Earlier this year the opposition party leaders in Holyrood
came together to support each other in pushing through the redefining of marriage. These politicians have acted cross-party upon their secular principles. Will Christian politicians act cross-party upon their Christian principles?” No effective campaign emerged. This is why we need distinctively Christian politicians in Holyrood to give a lead.
In its Autumn Newsletter
, the leader of the SCP writes: “Some eastern European countries, on leaving the USSR, drew up new constitutions. Seeing the writing on the wall, they took the opportunity to write into their constitution that marriage is between one man and one woman. On the other hand the SNP wants to redefine marriage and to have a nuclear weapons ban written into Scotland’s constitution. The first purpose and duty of government is the defence of the nation, but marriage is under attack from our own government, and our defence strategy needs more than Alex Salmond’s smile to ward off our enemies. We need the smile of heaven, but we are doing much to elicit God’s displeasure. The European Parliament, like Holyrood, will be the battleground for redefining marriage. Will it be a skirmish, as it was in Westminster? “The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle” Psalm 78:9. We need to train an army of Christian soldiers who know how to stand in the day of battle, Ephesians 6:11,13,14.”
Meanwhile, the SNP Government has pushed ahead with its Bill, disregarding the wishes of the vast majority of the respondents to the Scottish Government’s first consultation document
who were opposed to the change. The Scotland for Marriage petition
has over 53,000 signatures from those opposed to this legislation.Was this a prophetic word in 1967?
Lord Arran said in 1967 when homosexuality was decriminalised: “I ask one thing and I ask it earnestly. I ask those who have, as it were, been in bondage and for whom the prison doors are now open to show their thanks by comporting themselves quietly and with dignity. This is no occasion for jubilation; certainly not for celebration. Any form of ostentatious behaviour; now or in the future, any form of public flaunting, would be utterly distasteful and would, I believe, make the sponsors of the Bill regret that they have done what they have done. Homosexuals must continue to remember that while there may be nothing bad in being a homosexual, there is certainly nothing good…”
What was Lord Arran reading in the spirit of the campaign in the 1960s? Why should the Equal Opportunities Committee call upon the Parliament to behave with respect? Because many people can read the spirit for themselves.