By Neil Pooran
THE former head of the SNP has compared the Scottish Government’s support for gay marriage to “state fascism.”
Campaigners have called on Gordon Wilson, who led the party from 1979 to 1990, to apologise over the comments.
Wilson also branded the Scottish Government’s consultation on same-sex marriage a “fraud” and warned MSPs not to “scorn” the electorate in a free vote on the issue.
He is due to address a Scotland For Marriage fringe event this Thursday at the SNP conference in Perth.
He will say: “The consultation process was a fraud. What is the point of canvassing the views of the electorate and then cynically discarding them?
“If you think we are sliding down a road to state fascism and intolerance, you may not be far wrong.
“Be warned, those MSPs of all parties on a narrow majority who exercise their ‘free’ vote for same sex marriage.
“They may find that a free vote has as much validity as a ‘free’
lunch. If they ignore public opinion, a P45 may await. Do not scorn the electorate.”
The Scottish Government announced in July it proposed to bring in legislation which would allow same-sex couples to marry, though many churches and religious leaders oppose the plan.
Mr Wilson will also say: “So those MSPs who favour the Bill – and those who object – should realise that the real issues are the freedoms of speech and conscience in a democratic society. This legislation will subvert both rights.”
He continues: “And for the churches must surely come the realisation that the secular state in the UK, behind the lip-service of politicians and civil servants, is becoming openly intolerant of religion and sees no place for Christianity and Islam save as social curiosities.”
On Monday last week the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey compared criticism of opponents of same-sex marriage to Nazi persecution.
He said: “Let’s remember that the Jews in Nazi Germany, what started it all against them was when they started being called names. That was the first stage towards that totalitarian state.”
Tom French, of campaign group the Equality Network, said: “The opponents of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) equality have sunk to a new low by comparing equal marriage supporters to fascists and Nazis.
“The fascist regimes of the 20th Century persecuted, tortured and murdered LGBT people.
“In contrast, the Scottish Government are promoting equality and religious freedom for all.
“No religious body will be required to conduct same-sex marriages, but those that want to will now have the freedom to do so.
“This is a fair compromise that is supported by over two-thirds of people in Scotland.
“We call on Gordon Wilson and Lord Carey to withdraw these offensive comparisons, which are an insult to all those that have actually fought fascism.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Government is committed to a Scotland that is fair and equal and that is why we intend to proceed with plans to allow same sex marriage and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships, a move supported by all party leaders in the Scottish Parliament.
“We are deeply committed to freedom of speech and religion and have already made clear that no religious body or celebrant will be compelled to conduct same sex marriages.
“Our next consultation will outline the details of the protections in these areas and seek all views.”