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Church of Scotland

November 2013

It is claimed that the Kirk ‘may stop weddings’ over gay marriage, after some members of the Church of Scotland told members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) they may no longer perform marriages.
    Rev. Alan Hamilton told the Equal Opportunities Committee that, if plans to redefine marriage go ahead, north of the border, the Kirk would no longer conduct any weddings rather than risk ‘years of exhausting legal challenge’. However, the Kirk has ‘no immediate plans’ to stop performing weddings.
    A statement from the Christian Institute said that Mr Hamilton claimed the Kirk’s General Assembly had asked him to look into whether it is worth them continuing to offer marriages in Scotland.
    He said, ‘They are concerned that this is an invitation to take religious bodies in particular through the court system. It gives us considerable problems internally and we’re deeply concerned about the threat externally’.
    MSPs were warned about churches being challenged through the Equality Act and the European Convention on Human Rights.
    It is understood that Mr Hamilton’s findings about continuing to perform marriages will come before the General Assembly in 2015.
    Representatives from the Free Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities and campaign group Scotland for Marriage also gave evidence to the committee.

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