Sturgeon faces protestors while Salmond slips in side door
Around 200 people joined in a 'Scotland for Marriage' protest outside Renfrew Town Hall yesterday as the Scottish Cabinet arrived for a public meeting.
Alex Salmond side-stepped an encounter with opponents of the Scottish Government's same-sex marriage plans when Scotland's First Minister a ministerial "roadshow" event leaving his deputy Nicola Sturgeon to face those who gathered to protest the plans to introduce same-sex marriage.
Inside the Renfew Town Hall, Mr Salmond told a question-and-answer event with members of the public there was no reason to oppose same-sex marriage following the Government's reassurances to religious groups.
Following the public meeting the First Minister met in private with two representatives of Scotland for Marriage. In that meeting the First Minister reaffirmed his desire not to intrude on the liberty of conscience of people who believe in traditional marriage. However those who oppose the government's plans have questioned whether he can deliver on those promises.
The Catholic Church in Scotland, which opposes same-sex marriage, said Mr Salmond's comments that churches did not need to conduct ceremonies was a red herring.
With relation to the Renfrew event a statement by Scotland for Marriage affirmed:"The protest showed the Scottish Government that its gay marriage plans are deeply unpopular and that we will not give up our campaign to keep the current definition of marriage. If anything, support for the cause is growing, as yesterday’s high profile protest showed."
Spokesman Peter Kearney, who attended the meeting, said:
"The focus on ceremonies is unhelpful and it is a red herring. Catholic priests would not be carrying out same-sex marriage ceremonies anyway. "We are concerned about teachers who refuse to use books that promote same-sex marriage, will they have protection or be sacked, or foster parents who don't agree with it, will they be removed from the register and no longer allowed to foster? "Will parents be able to remove their child from lessons about same- sex marriage? "They can remove their children from religious education just now, but this is not religion, this will be the law."
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In extending a 'thank you' to its supporters the statement continued: "Together we have been a voice for the man in the street who doesn’t want to see politicians meddling with marriage."
The group believe that it is having a national impact and have expressed a determination to continue the campaign.
The protest was reported widely in the Scottish media including BBC's Reporting Scotland news progamme. Scottish Television also carried a video report of the Renfew meeting.