On the day that Scotland’s historic equal marriage legislation came into effect a new study by ScotCen Social Research reveals that public support for same-sex marriage in Scotland is at a record high and opposition at a record low.
Marriage equality is a worthy cause, and UK laws rightly ban discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. But a legal case by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland against a bakery unhelpfully confuses different issues.
Clergy and laypersons should not get into trouble for marrying their same-sex partners, the Methodist Church in Britain agreed. For the time being, only opposite-sex couples will be allowed to marry in church. But a two-year period of study and discussion will examine whether this should change.
Equal marriage is now taking effect in England, Wales, Scotland and many other parts of the world. Some Christians welcome this, others are unsure or opposed. Against this background, theological reflection on sexuality and gender identity is particularly important.
"First gay clergyman to wed plunges Church into crisis: Archbishop under pressure to sack canon who flouted ban on same sex marriage", announced the Mail dramatically. "Church of England faces 'crisis' as gay priest weds" was the Telegraph headline.
Celebrations are taking place across England and Wales for newly-married same-sex as well as opposite-sex couples. Soon equal marriage will be in place in Scotland too. This is cause for rejoicing not only for the newly-weds, their families and friends but also the wider community.