July 11, 2012
By declaring war on gay marriage, the Catholic Church is declaring war on itself
You must have heard of Cardinal Keith O’Brien. He’s the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, and he doesn’t like us very much. So much, in fact, that he has promised to spend another £100,000 to stop us having the same marriage rights as our heterosexual counterparts, which he describes as a “grotesque subversion.”
He’s declared war on you and me. He says that: “the Catholic Church will bear any burden and meet any cost” to protect marriage. You might remember O’Brien and the Catholic Church also opposed the equal age of consent, the repeal of Section 28, civil partnerships and same-sex adoption. You know what they all have in common? They all passed into law.
Whether the Cardinal likes it or not, and no matter the amount of money in his pocket, the times they are a-changing. It’s incredulous to even think it, but if the Scottish Government decide not to go ahead with plans for equal marriage, there is nothing he can do to stop the ferocious wave of public opinion that is strongly in favour of greater equality. Sooner or later, same-sex marriage will be legal. I’ll bet my hat on it.
By declaring war on gay marriage, the Catholic Church are declaring war on themselves. Perhaps not today, or even tomorrow, but quite soon, they’re going to wake up and realise they’re completely out of step with their congregation and with the wider public in Scotland and the UK. If you don’t adapt and change, you will be left behind. Then you can shout as loud as you like and throw all the money you’ve got at lavish advertising campaigns, but they’ll be no one left to hear you.
The fact of the matter is, the greatest risk facing the Catholic Church in Scotland are themselves. Not you and me. After all, under proposed changes, no one will be forced to conduct a same-sex marriage. In 2010 in Scotland, there were 24,959 weddings. Almost 15,000 couples chose a non-religious civil ceremony, followed by just over 6,000 Church of Scotland weddings. Humanist ceremonies rose by over 30% to 2,030. And the Catholic Church? Bringing up the rear with a mere 1,776 couples. You do the math.
O’Brien would like you to believe this is a religious debate, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re talking about fundamentalists here that are opposing a change that is already legal in many countries. Few Catholics follow strict doctrines, and many support gay marriage. 57%, in fact. He talks about the ‘unprecedented backlash’ that the government will face if they go ahead with new legislation, but perhaps they should be worried about the backlash closer to home.
How many other Catholics feel embarrassed about the Church’s opposition to equality like Heather Peace? Last month she said: “I was brought up a Catholic, and in all honesty, on the happiest day of my life, if you really think I would set foot in any building that would rather I wasn’t there, then you’re having a laugh.”
The Catholic Church are playing a very dangerous game, and they risk alienating a whole generation of young people. The more vehemently Keith O’Brien talks about us, the less people will feel able to identify as Catholic and LGBT and their opposition to same-sex marriage in the face of so many enlightened people supporting it really might damage their reputation in Scotland irreparably.
If you’re in any doubt about which direction we’re headed, one of the cornerstones of the fight for equal marriage is the Scottish Youth Parliament’s Love Equally campaign. It gives me goosebumps to see just how committed young people in this country are to shape the place that they live in. Last year, they voted overwhelmingly to make same-sex marriage their priority. This wasn’t just a group of gay kids, but from a consultation of over 40,000 people from across Scotland who recognised how important an issue this is. They’ve done an amazing job so far, and they continue to do so.
Cardinal O’Brien, if you’re reading. These kids are not just my future. They are yours as well.
The Scottish Government are due to announce the results of their consultation later this month.
Do we still need pride?
Lesbilicious at Brighton Pride 2012 asking lots of people their opinions on whether or not we need pride.
September 2, 2012