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YESTERDAY bishop Philip Tartaglia – a thoroughly nasty article if ever there was one – was preening himself over the news that he is to become the new Archbishop of Glasgow. But today he awoke to discover that the Scottish Government had rudely pissed on his parade by announcing the introduction of gay marriage by 2015.

Bishop Tartaglia is having a bad day. Let's hope it gets worse

The Catholic Church in Scotland had forked out big bucks on campaigns to oppose the government’s gay marriage plans, and Tartaglia had been among most vocal among the Church’s army of homophobes.

Not only has the gloss been knocked off his appointment by the gay marriage announcement, he is also facing calls for his resignation over incredibly stupid and vile remarks he made about the death last year of Labour MP David Cairns.

The poisonous toad linked Cairns’ premature death to his homosexuality. In a speech he gave at a religious conference at Oxford University he accused society of being "very quiet" about:

The relationship between the physical and mental health of gay men.

He went on to suggest that Cairns’ death was partly due to his homosexuality.

He said:

Recently in Scotland, there was a gay Catholic MP who died at the age of 44 or so, and nobody said anything, and why should his body just shut down at that age?

George Eaton, in The New Statesman, wrote today:

In fact, as was reported at the time of his death, Cairns died of pancreatitis, an illness that, like all others, afflicts homosexuals and heterosexuals alike ... The suggestion from Tartaglia, a vociferous opponent of gay marriage, appears to be that ‘being gay can kill you’. In his defence, Tartaglia would point out that he was responding to a question about the recent suicide of a gay author in the US. But to move from this to suggest that Cairns's death was due to anything other than pancreatitis is as bizarre as it is insulting.

Cairns's partner, Dermot Kehoe, who was in a relationship with the former Scotland Office minister for almost 15 years, told the Scotsman:

This is genuinely very upsetting and painful for David's family and friends. I can't believe that someone who claims to be a man of God and is seeking to give moral leadership should speak from such a position of ignorance. I don't care what his views on gay marriage are, but to bring in my dead partner to justify those views is wrong.

Commenting on the Government’s gay marriage announcement, Tom French, policy co-ordinator for the Equality Network, said:

The Scottish government have shown their determination to make Scotland a more progressive country. With cross-party support for equality in the Scottish Parliament, we would expect that this change can be passed next year.

He added:

Same-sex marriage is about equality and freedom – the freedom for couples, and religious and humanist groups that want to, to celebrate same-sex marriages, but equally, upholding the freedom of other religious groups to say no to same-sex marriages. That's the right way for Scotland to deal with the different opinions on this.

Despite opposition by the big religions, faith groups, including members of the United Reformed Church, the Quakers, Buddhists and the Pagan Federation back gay marriage.

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