Scottish plea not to force same-sex ties

By Simon Rocker, December 8, 2011

Religious bodies should not be forced to conduct same-sex partnership ceremonies, the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities has told the Scottish Government.

New laws came into effect in England and Wales on Monday, which allow same-sex unions to be held on religious premises.

In response to a consultation on whether similar measures should be adopted in Scotland, the SCoJeC said that there were "different views" within the Jewish community.

Although the Orthodox majority would not "under any circumstances, carry out religious civil partnership registrations," the council said, "it does not wish to impose its views on others." The Orthodox took a similar position on the question of introducing same-sex marriage.

While the Liberals supported partnership ceremonies, the Reform and Masorti were still debating their positions.

Reform rabbis backed the idea that gay and lesbian couples should have the opportunity for a religious ceremony "within the sanctity of Jewish community, tradition and practice" but without so far suggesting that these should be legally binding.

As for amending the law formally to recognise same-sex marriage, the Reform and Masorti movements had expressed no view, while the Liberals supported it. Religious bodies, the SCoJeC emphasised, "must not be forced or coerced into acting against their conscience".

Last updated: 1:20pm, December 8 2011