Opponents of equal marriage have come under criticism for comparing gay people to paedophiles and thieves in an effort to dissuade the Scottish Government from plans to legalise same-sex marriage.
Today, in a ‘BBC Radio Scotland: Call Kaye’ discussion, the Reverend James Gracie, a Minister of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) argued that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people should not be treated ‘equally’ because homosexuality was a ‘lifestyle choice’ comparable to paedophilia, polygamy and theft.
When asked to explain why he did not support same-sex marriage, Rev James Gracie said: “If the homosexuals and these people want to be treated equally then what of paedophiles – what about polygamy…”
Gracie went on to declare: “Yes it’s a lifestyle choice” and compared it to “people who steal, people who have tendencies for all sorts of things.”
Tom French, Policy Coordinator for the Equality Network, said: “It is disappointing that the opponents of equal marriage are comparing loving same-sex couples to paedophiles, polygamists and thieves in an increasingly desperate effort to persuade the Scottish Government to ditch their proposals to legalise same-sex marriage. Most people will be appalled by these comments.”
Grant Costello, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said; “Throughout the Scottish Youth Parliament’s Love Equally campaign for marriage equality, Scotland’s young people have demonstrated an entirely positive approach and treated those with different views with courtesy and respect. We are deeply disappointed and saddened that this standard has not been matched by those with opposing opinions and are extremely concerned that in our modern Scotland homophobic abuse and smears on national radio can be allowed to take place.”
Nathan Sparling, NUS Scotland LGBT Officer, said: “These kinds of comments, and similar ones aimed at the young people who were peacefully and positively demonstrating their support for marriage equality at the Parliament today, are truly despicable. A formal complaint was raised with Lothian & Borders Police about the incident at Holyrood. Hopefully achieving Equal Marriage in Scotland will help create a Scotland free of discrimination.”
On Wednesday, the Equal Marriage campaign handed over 18,000 consultation responses to the Scottish Government in support of same-sex marriage.
The responses were collected by the Equality Network, the Scottish Youth Parliament, LGBT Youth Scotland and the NUS Scotland LGBT Campaign amongst others.
Since launching in 2008, the Equal Marriage campaign has received backing from politicians across the political spectrum, including the Scottish Government who have stated they are minded to lift the ban on same-sex marriage.
Opinion polls suggest a majority of Scots support equal marriage, including the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2010 which indicated 61% support versus 19% opposition. This included a majority of respondents following all the major faiths and political parties in Scotland.