Church of Scotland Considers No Longer Officiating at Marriages

The Church of Scotland is weighing no longer performing marriage ceremonies over concerns that the country’s impending same-sex marriage legislation will invite lawsuits against the Church. While the legislation would include protections for religious groups who choose not to perform same-sex marriage, members of the church, or the Kirk, warned those protections were not “robust enough to protect those who in conscience will not want to conduct such ceremonies.”

“This Bill constitutes the most serious threat to religious liberty in Scotland in living memory,” a church spokesman said. “Churches and religious bodies will be vulnerable to challenge and legal attack. Forcing society to accept same-sex marriage in the face of majority opposition is unnecessary, unwanted, and undemocratic.”

While it has not made any official decisions to stop performing ceremonies, among possible reforms, the Kirk has said it may offer alternative options such as a church blessing afterwards, according to the BBC. It has also asked the government to explore the possibility of no longer recognizing ministers and other religious officials as “civil registrars” in regards to marriage.

“It gives us considerable problems internally; we’re deeply concerned about the threat externally,” a reverend with the church said.

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