- Conscience and the Commons
Following his election as Lib Dem leader, Tim Farron was grilled by the media about his beliefs as an evangelical Christian. Has the focus on faith, which began with Tony Blair, reached the point where it is harder than ever to hold religious beliefs and play an active role in political life?
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The Catholic Church in Scotland has continued to lobby against same-sex marriage but its parliamentary officer believes that it is likely to be legalised after a parliamentary vote on today.
John Deighan said that there was an “air of inevitability” about the Same-Sex Marriage Bill, and that it was likely to become law.
“There is the debate on Tuesday, but that really is the last step, and with such an overwhelming number of votes in favour of the legislation, 98 in favour with just 15 against at the first stage, it really does look like it is going to pass,” he said.
The Catholic Church in Scotland fell quiet on the issue after Cardinal Keith O’Brien – an outspoken opponent of gay marriage – resigned last February following allegations of sexual misconduct.
However, Mr Deighan pointed out that the Scottish Bishops had written to MSPs asking that safeguards be built in to protect public sector organisations, faith groups and individuals who hold an ethos inimical to same-sex marriage.
Above: Debating Chamber at the Scottish Parliament Photo: Pschemp