NOW that the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has seen sense and passed the relevant legislation opening marriage to all regardless of gender, this fills me with hope.
Up until this legislation was passed my own conscience had been shackled by the un-Christlike actions and words of some. I have had to turn down requests from people in same-sex committed relationships to condemn their weddings.
This had always been an important issue for me although I am not gay. I am an ally, and proud to be so, of the LGBTQ+ community.
It is also important to emphasise that no minister whose conscience does not permit them to conduct such weddings will be forced to conduct them.
All that the legislation does need a permit freedom of conscience on this issue. And please let’s stop talking about “gay marriage.” It is an anachronistic piece of terminology. Let’s now talk simply about marriage.
Revd John Nugent BD (rtd), Wick.
CHURCH MIGHT YET HAVE A VOICE
IT is not hard to see why traditionalists and those who believe in the teachings of the Bible are opposed to the church’s decision.
But to everyone else it is surely a sign of the Kirk moving with the times and accepting that hidebound attitudes have no place in a modern Scotland.
The Church has to an extent faded into insignificance in recent decades and its influence decline as its congregations have continued to dwindle; perhaps this decisive new move will make people realise that it still has a voice, and still has a role to play in shaping the country.
R. Johnston, Glasgow.
QUEEN’S REACTION TO DIANA’S DEATH
I WAS incensed on reading Rosemary Goring’s article on the Queen (“I’ll raise a toast to the Queen, while dreaming of day we abolish royals”, May 25).
I can’t believe she trotted out that nonsense about Her Majesty being aloof and lacking in empathy when Diana died.
While the baying mob outside Buckingham Palace were criticising the Queen for not immediately returning to London, she was doing what any caring grandmother would do in such a situation – looking after her distraught grandsons in privacy.
Maybe Prince Harry wouldn’t be the poor tortured soul he seems to be today if he had been allowed to grieve for his mother in private instead of being cruelly paraded in public.
Nita Marr, Longniddry.
COMMITMENT TO SUPPORT INTO M.E.
LONG Covid, with its connection to other post-viral conditions, has brought some hope of recognition and potential support for those trying to cope with ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
The UK Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, made an important statement on May 12, when he officially recognised the severity of this condition, and outlined plans to advance research with a commitment towards additional funding.
His promises, of course, do not directly apply to our devolved Government.
In his statement, however, he made the comment: ‘….we are engaging with the Scottish Government to explore areas of potential shared interest and learning, especially into research into ME/CFS.’
There was an extended interview in Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour on May 23 with Sean O’Neill, a senior writer at The Times, whose daughter, Maeve, died of ME at the age of 27.
Dr Charles Shepherd, Medical Adviser to the ME Association, also spoke, noting that more Supportive Services had been available for ME patients in England than in other parts of the UK .
It is my sincere hope that the promises made by Sajid Javid will be taken up by our own Scottish Government.
Anne Drysdale, Beith, Ayrshire.
BIGGAR 1, MOTHERWELL 0
JOHN Crawford’s article in on local government before 1975 ( “In praise of Scotland’s old counties and burghs”, May 24) brought to mind the time when I helped with a project to spruce up the high street in the latter days of the small burgh of Biggar.
The time came when the Burgh Surveyor’s stock of cobblestones had been used up and more were needed.
Soon afterwards the requisite amount mysteriously appeared and it was generally rumoured that two men and a truck had set off at dead of night and had liberated them from his counterpart’s yard in Motherwell.
Just one story to confirm that in those days local government really was local.
John Gerrard, Glasgow.
WASTE IN OUR WATERCOURSES
I NOTE from the magazine article (“Busted flush”: The truth about what we put in our rivers”, May 21) that Scottish Water now monitor only 10% of their Storm Water Overflows.
About 20 years ago, I worked for an engineering contractor that was tasked with upgrading a large number of existing CSOs (as they were then referred to) to ensure that no “gross solids” (i.e. recognisable faecal matter, rags, wipes, paper etc.) were discharged to a watercourse along with the stormwater.
An integral part of this upgrade was the installation of Telemetry to ensure that Scottish Water was advised of the start and cessation of any discharge together with an approximation of the volume of the discharge.
I understood at the time that this was a strict requirement of SEPA, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
It strikes me that possibly Scottish Water has persuaded SEPA that this should only be applied to the larger discharges or has possibly persuaded SEPA that the cost of installing and maintaining the equipment was disproportionate to the amount of viable information obtained.
Adam Muir, Kirkintilloch.
SHORTAGE OF BOTTLES
I READ with alarm the report in your business pages earlier this week – “Scottish drinks wholesaler Dunns warns of glass bottle shortage”, May 24)
A warning of a shortage of bottles! Where is the long-awaited deposit return scheme when it’s needed?
Why continue to break bottles up or send to landfill when they could be re-used?
Patricia Fort, Glasgow.