The top 12 strangest arguments against equal marriage from Scotland’s first day of Committee stage

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Yesterday the Scottish Parliament held its first evidence session on the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill; the legislation that could introduce equal marriage in Scotland.

The inquiry into the Bill is being undertaken by the Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee who will hear evidence from a wide range of stakeholders in the coming weeks, before making recommendations to the Scottish Parliament on whether to proceed with the Bill and, if so, in what form.

As well as hearing from those groups in favour of equal marriage the Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee heard from those religious groups who are opposed. Just one day in, here presents the top 12 strangest arguments against equal marriage, from the evidence presented to the Committee:

1 – John Deighan, from the Catholic Church in Scotland, explains why there is no need to lift the ban on same-sex marriage: “We already have equal marriage. All people have the right to marriage.”

2 – Dr Salah Beltagui, from the Muslim Council of Scotland, explains how equal marriage will lead to brotherly love: “What scares people are the things that will happen under the bill that are not expected. The bill gives a list of people whose relationships are too close for them to marry. For us, that list includes same-sex couples. It will be dangerous for society if we keep changing the list to exclude relationships that we currently recognise as making it not possible for people to marry. As people have said, that could lead to incest and other dangerous relations.”

3 – Mr Deighan explains how same-sex marriage is an issue for trading standards: “We cannot have laws saying that people who sell bracelets can call them watches if they do not tell the time.”

4 – Mr Deighan explains why Catholic schools would not wish to participate in LGBT History Month: “The whole aim of the month is to try to change people’s understanding of people who are homosexual and propose them as role models. We would not want to be doing that.”

5 – Mr Deighan compares LGBT History Month to racist propaganda and pornography: “If someone came in with literature for the BNP and a printer thought that the literature was racist and they did not want to print it, I think that they would be perfectly entitled to say no. Similarly, if someone came in with pornography and the printer felt that pornography was detrimental to the rights of women, they would be entitled not to print it. If they were asked to print publicity material for LGBT history month, but they thought that that twist on history was wrong and they did not want to participate in that deception, I think that they would be entitled to say that.”

6 – Dr Beltagui explains how legalising same-sex marriage will require the Scottish Government to amend every document in history: “It is the principle—changing the whole history of marriage—that is worrying us. The bill talks about changing the text of Scots law and so on to accommodate the change that the bill will make. Are we going to do that for all the documents in history that faith groups or nations have?”

7 – Mr Deighan compares same-sex marriage to incest: “A brother and a sister were demanding that they be allowed to marry. If we set up a principle that marriage is only about love, we need to ask what principle then says that such relationships are not permitted.”

8 – Dr Beltagui creates confusion when explaining how equal marriage could create confusion: “If we start changing the definition of marriage from what we know and what we know about who is coming from which line and who is not, there will be confusion and we will not know exactly where we stop and where we start”

9 – Mr Deighan explains marriage is not about badges: “We do not change the whole of society because people might feel upset that their relationship is not being given a particular badge by the state. It is not about badges”

10 – Dr Beltagui explains how equal marriage could lead to a threesome: “The bill makes marriage acceptable between two men or two women, but it uses the definition of adultery only between a man and a woman. That means that someone can have relations with someone of the same sex outside a same-sex marriage, including in a threesome, a foursome”

11 – Mr Deighan explains how changes in equality law have made it compulsory for a man to be a woman: “The trajectory of the past 10 years has been to try to replace equality with sameness in thinking that a man has to be a woman. That is where we have gone wrong.”

12 – Dr Beltagui explains equal marriage is exactly like abortion: “The case of marriage is exactly like abortion. It is an issue on which people will differ. We accept that abortion is a controversial issue, and marriage is at the same level, or perhaps an even higher level. Abortion involves one person with an unborn baby, but the issue of marriage involves the whole of society”