Marriage (Same Sex Couples)

Memorandum submitted by Rev C B Ross (MB 56)

With reference to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, I wish to submit the following personal experience for the Committee's consideration:

1. For almost three years, since my retiral, I served as a volunteer Force Chaplain to Strathclyde Police, covering the whole of Lanarkshire (the former 'N' and 'Q' Divisions, as well as the Force Training and Recruitment Centre, Jackton).   This was a role that I enjoyed immensely, and I was extremely active in regular visitation, and in identifying myself with officers and staff.  I submitted a monthly article to the different Divisional Bulletins, and attended all of the Force, and Divisional, events as invited. The result of my endeavours was that I gained the trust of those I sought to serve, and was being used by some in pastoral situations.

2. However, just before the summer, a particular senior officer in one of the Divisions read my personal blog (www.crazyrev.blogspot.com) - and objected to my expressed support for traditional marriage as, it was claimed, it went against the Force's Equality and Diversity Policies.  I was summoned to a meeting, the end result of which has been that my services have been dispensed with!  This, I would emphasise, is before any legislation has been placed on the Statute Book.

3. My voluntary situation is bad enough, but legal opinion is that if I were, for example, a Hospital Chaplain in full-time employment, then I would be equally open to dismissal because of my sincerely-held beliefs regarding the sanctity of marriage.

4. This is, I would contend, typical of the kind of situation that could, and would, arise if the Bill were to become law.

February 2013

Prepared 27th February 2013