Alex Salmond should resist “threats” from the Catholic Church over his plans to legalise gay marriage in spite of the political consequences for the SNP, the Liberal Democrats have said.Willie Rennie, the Scottish Lib Dem leader, urged the First Minister to ignore suggestions from the church that 800,000 Catholics will boycott the Nationalists in future elections if the proposal becomes law.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, said at the weekend that the proposal would “shame” the country and “forfeit” the trust held by the religion’s followers in the SNP administration.
Philip Tartaglia, Bishop of Paisley, repeated yesterday that a government that legalised gay marriage did not “deserve” the support of the Catholic community.
Mr Salmond has assiduously courted the Catholic vote, particularly in the West of Scotland, who traditionally voted Labour in droves. His charm offensive contributed to the SNP landslide in May’s Holyrood election.
Mr Rennie said: “I am disappointed that leaders of the Catholic Church in Scotland have threatened the Scottish government over proposals to bring equality to marriage.