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BBC Scotland's Joanne Macaulay
"The church backs the amendment but says it has yet to be convinced about abolition"
 real 28k

Saturday, 27 May, 2000, 11:43 GMT 12:43 UK
Church backs S28 amendment
Glasgow Cathedral
The latest views are coming from Catholic HQ in Glasgow
Catholic Church leaders in Scotland say they are backing an amendment which would replace the controversial Section 28 law.

They want to see an MSP's proposal urging the Scottish Executive to introduce a replacement clause recognising the importance of marriage to be introduced.

The country's Catholic hierarchy, including outspoken cardinal Thomas Winning, has been vocal in its opposition to abolition of the law which bans the promotion of homosexuality as a pretend family relationship.

Cardinal Winning
Cardinal Winning: Outspoken opponenet of abolition
It was believed the church's views would mellow if concessions were made.

But its leaders are still saying there is much ground to make up.

However, they are in favour of the marriage amendment being put forward by Labour MSP Michael McMahon.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church confirmed that its parliamentary officer John Deighan had e-mailed MSPs as a part of a campaign to win support for the new clause.

Mr McMahon, who has so far not won over the executive, stresses that most people find stability in marriage.

Safeguards urged

And using a form of words suggested by the gay rights group Stonewall, he also says children from different types of family unit should not suffer stigmatisation.

Earlier this week, Church of Scotland leaders accepted that Section 28 would be repealed, but they urged safeguards to be put in its place.

After almost two hours of heated debate at the church's annual assembly in Edinburgh, commissioners gave support to the Scottish Executive's bid to abolish the 12-year-old piece of legislation.

But they emphasised that their support was only being given on the basis that fresh safeguards, including the importance on the emphasis of marriage, are put in place.

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See also:

28 May 00 | Scotland
Souter hints at S28 'backdown'
24 May 00 | Scotland
Kirk 'accepts' Section 28 repeal
14 May 00 | Scotland
S28 move 'eases' teachers minds
07 May 00 | Scotland
March for Section 28 repeal
06 May 00 | Scotland
Section 28 vote dubbed a farce
11 May 00 | Scotland
Ministers in Section 28 rethink
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