Scotland for Marriage launched on St. Andrew's Day

ADVANCE NOTICE:
PRO-MARRIAGE RALLY OUTSIDE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT
WED. 30 NOV., 10.30AM-11.30AM

Strictly embargoed 00.01, Wed. 30 Nov 2011

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, former SNP leader Gordon Wilson, and Ann Allen of the Church of Scotland will be the keynote speakers at a pro-marriage rally outside the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday (30 Nov).

The event will mark the launch of a new campaign group, Scotland for Marriage, which exists to support the current legal definition of marriage and resist all plans to redefine it.

Scotland for Marriage is supported by church groups, but is non-religious and open to all who support its aims and objectives.

A crowd of marriage supporters will gather from 10.30am and speeches from the three keynote speakers will begin at 11am. The event will end at 11.30am.

The three keynote speakers will sign a petition, calling for a referendum on the issue and expressing concerns about the wider implications of redefining marriage.

The petition can be signed by the public at scotlandformarraige.org (which will go live at 00.01 on Wednesday 30 November).

The Catholic Church will deliver around 20,000 postcards in 20 sacks of 1,000 to the Scottish Parliament. The postcards have been signed by people in Scotland who don’t want marriage to be redefined.

Half-page ads in three national newspapers will be published on Wed 30 November in the Daily Record, The Herald and The Scotsman. The ads will announce the launch of Scotland for Marriage and encourage the public to sign the Marriage Petition.

A poster van advertising the launch of Scotland for Marriage and the website, marriageforscotalnd.org, will drive on the streets surrounding the Scottish Parliament until midday. It will then drive around a route of central Edinburgh, past St Andrews House, for the rest of the day.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien said: “As an institution, marriage long predates the existence of any state or government. It was not created by government and should not be changed by them. Instead, recognising the innumerable benefits which marriage brings to society they should act to protect and uphold it not attack or dismantle it.
At the heart of this debate however there is one perspective which seems to be completely lost or ignored, it is the point of view of the child. All children deserve to begin life with a mother and father, the evidence in favour of the stability and well being which this provides is overwhelming and unequivocal.”

Gordon Wilson said: “If the Scottish Government wants the Scottish people to vote for independence in a referendum, why is it going out of its way to alienate so many Scots in the Christian and Muslim communities? As a veteran, it is obvious to me the Government is in a political hole. My advice is simple. Forget about the ‘done deal’ with the Tory/Liberal coalition in London. They are not on your side. Scotland is not London. As you will find, Scotland is for marriage!”

Ann Allen, former Convener of the Church of Scotland's Board of Social Responsibility, said: “I’m confused as to why with so many pressing issues confronting us today in Scotland, our government has chosen to prioritise time, effort, and money on this particular issue. Canada legalised same sex marriage in 2005 and today faces challenges to have polygamy legalised. Is this what we want for a modern Scotland: a continual changing of moral and legal goalposts? As a former teacher I am concerned that children are going to be taught that same sex partnerships and traditional marriage are the same, which they are not. If the redefining of marriage goes ahead it will have far reaching consequences and as far as I can see none of them are positive.”

For more information contact:
Peter Kearney, Scottish Catholic Media Office 07968 122 291
Mike Judge, Head of Communications, The Christian Institute 07736 957 579

 

Note to Editors: The full text of Cardinal O'Brien's speech is shown below:

‘SCOTLAND FOR MARRIAGE’ LAUNCH OUTSIDE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT BUILDING, EDINBURGH

SPEECH BY CARDINAL KEITH PATRICK O’BRIEN

WEDNESDAY 30 NOVEMBER 2011 :  ST ANDREW’S DAY

As we near the end of the Scottish Government’s 14 week consultation on same sex marriage, we should take a moment to congratulate the tens of thousands of Scots who have taken the time to register their opposition to this proposal. There is no doubt whatsoever that when the responses are added up those who do not want marriage to be redefined will greatly outnumber those who do. I hope and trust that the Scottish Government will listen to this ‘voice of the people’.

On the surface the proposal to redefine marriage may seem to some to be an innocuous proposition. But we must be clear that redefining marriage will have huge implications for what is taught in our schools and for wider society.

But can we simply redefine terms at a whim? Can a word whose meaning has been clearly understood in every society throughout history suddenly be changed to mean something else? Of course it can’t, yet when Scotland’s politicians suggest that they might jettison the established understanding of marriage and subvert the meaning set out in Article 16 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights as a relationship between men and women, the response from the political world, seemed meek and muted.

Recent weeks however have shown that the response from the people of Scotland is anything but. This proposal represents a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right. Scotland’s Catholic Bishops from the outset undertook to strenuously oppose these proposals and I am delighted to be here with you today in my capacity as President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland.  I know that my brother bishops are thinking and saying the same as myself.  In fact, this very day, Archbishop Mario Conti, President of our Bishops’ Conference’s Commission on Christian Doctrine and Unity is preaching in line with myself in his Cathedral in Glasgow, while I later on this morning will similarly preach in my Cathedral in Edinburgh.

There is no doubt that as a society we have become blasé about the importance of marriage as a stabilising influence and less inclined to prize it as a worthwhile institution. It has certainly been damaged and undermined over the course of a generation, yet marriage has always existed in order to bring men and women together so that the children born of those unions will have a mother and a father.

As an institution, marriage long predates the existence of any state or government. It was not created by government and should not be changed by them. Instead, recognising the innumerable benefits which marriage brings to society they should act to protect and uphold it not attack or dismantle it.

At the heart of this debate however there is one perspective which seems to be completely lost or ignored, it is the point of view of the child. All children deserve to begin life with a mother and father, the evidence in favour of the stability and well being which this provides is overwhelming and unequivocal.

The Universal Declaration on Human Rights is crystal clear when it says that marriage is a right which applies to men and women, it goes on to state, that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is   entitled to protection by society and the State.” This universal truth is so self evident that it shouldn’t need to be repeated.

If the Scottish Government attempt to demolish a universally recognised human right, they will have forfeited the trust which the nation, including people of all faiths and none, have placed in them and their intolerance will shame Scotland in the eyes of the world.

We will continue to preserve, protect and defend the institution of marriage and urge everyone in our country to unite in support of “Scotland For Marriage!”


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