Letters: Outdated arguments only serve to discredit debate

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Your recent coverage of the same-sex marriage issue has been, in my opinion, both balanced and fair. It depresses me, however, that in our modern society it is newsworthy at all that two men, or two women for that matter, should be – in the eyes of the law – entitled to the same rights as a heterosexual couple.

As usual, those shouting the loudest are those with the most to lose if the status quo were to change. Religious institutions with plummeting congregations cling on to thousand-year-old prejudices, desperately trying to convince themselves and their ailing, ageing congregations that the church in its current form is still relevant.

Rev David Court wrote in your recent feature on the subject that the biblical understanding of marriage is the “union for life of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others”.

The church has been quick to discard “outdated” biblical rules in the past – Leviticus 19:19 for example states: “Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee”.

I doubt many in the church would bat an eyelid at 
someone wearing cotton and linen at the same time, yet still they cling on to a definition of marriage written in a book where the homosexuals are condemned to death.

The world has moved on since then. The churches’ definition of marriage should too. Perhaps then they can address their falling numbers by becoming an organisation based on equality and inclusiveness.

Neil Milne, Balerno

Work is helping revive cemeteries

I was very interested in your piece (July 18) regarding the graveyards of Edinburgh. What is of particular interest is the fact that people tend to look at the “historic” graveyards but yet overlook those which do not fall into this category. Yet those currently classified as “non-historic” (post-1900) will, by simple passage of time, become historic.

I first raised the concept of using those sentenced to Community Payback to rebuild these “non-historic” headstones with the heads of both Edinburgh cemeteries and the justice department in Edinburgh City Council and, after a trial, they agreed that this proposal was viable.

The work undertaken at Liberton Cemetery, where now over 250 stones have rebuilt, was a trailblazer but now this project has now been copied by other councils (Moray, City of Aberdeen, Midlothian, East Lothian, Scottish Borders).

The success of the Liberton Project has led to the expansion of the project and restoration work is now being undertaken at the Grange Cemetery. So, positive work is being undertaken – the major problem is the lack of cash as all such work takes both time and, most importantly, money.

Alan McKinney, Edinburgh

Time to drive cars from city centre

Green Lothians MSP Alison Johnstone is to be congratulated for cautioning about the possible return of car traffic to Princes Street, even if it is on a temporary basis.

The city council must do all that it can to deter car traffic from travelling through the city centre and especially the prime street of the city.

Cars are antisocial and inflict noise and pollution on visitors and city residents when they are allowed in popular city centre locations. Encouraging public transport alternatives is by far the better policy.

Norman Bonney, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh

Forced festivities a step too far

What concerns me about the Olympics is not cost, congestion, much overrated threats to civil liberties or the virtual monopolising of the airwaves.

Rather, it is the knowledge that if an event giving rise to national mourning occurred (like the death of Diana or the Queen Mother), the Games could not be abandoned as a mark of respect due to contractual obligations.

Were the next few weeks to see the sad loss of any of our royal family or Lady Thatcher, the British people could never continue with the Games in a spirit of enforced jollity. Yet, that is precisely what the promoters and sponsors would attempt to ensure.

John Eoin Douglas, Spey Terrace, Edinburgh