By a Newsnet reporter

A BBC Scotland reporter has claimed that legislating for same sex marriage is “risky” for the SNP and that the issue could lead to Scots voting No in the independence referendum.

Speaking on Reporting Scotland, reporter Raymond Buchanan claimed that plans by Scottish Ministers to introduce legislation in 2015, months after the referendum, might lead to problems for the Yes campaign if the issue took centre stage in the referendum run-up.

Mr Buchanan’s comments follow confirmation by the Scottish government of their intention to introduce legislation that will allow same sex couples to legally marry.  The legislation will allow for religious organisations to opt in or out, with no compulsory element.

The reporter, who had been asked by studio anchor Jackie Bird how risky the plan was for Alex Salmond’s party, claimed that "it could be very risky" given the opposition from religious groups who he described as "very powerful organisations".

Mr Buchanan insisted that the SNP had “some cover” from opinion polls but that Ministers would "struggle".

"If you think about the timetable for this, perhaps introducing same sex marriage in early 2015.  Well just a few months beforehand the SNP government hope to have won an independence referendum.

"If this continues to be a big row it could distract attention and perhaps even voters from that and that really could be risky for the SNP." said the BBC Scotland reporter.

The comments by Mr Buchanan follow an item on the programme the day before when another colleague highlighted what he claimed was strong Catholic support for the SNP, implying that the new legislation could place future support under threat.

The claims by both BBC Scotland reporters come despite same sex marriage being supported by all parties in the Scottish Parliament, including anti-independence parties.

In February this year, Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont joined her Conservative counterpart Ruth Davidson along with Lib Dem Willie Rennie and Green MSP Patrick Harvie to sign the Equality Network document in support of same sex marriage.

Only last week one Scottish Labour MSP, Drew Smith, appeared on Reporting Scotland criticising the SNP’s then decision to delay the announcement.  Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron is another who supports same sex marriage.


[Newsnet Scotland comment - Given support for same sex marriage spans the constitutional and political spectrum, both at UK and Scottish level, it is unclear who will benefit should voters turn against the plans.

The claims by a high profile BBC Scotland reporter that the SNP, a euphemism in this instance for the independence campaign, might somehow suffer because of same sex legislation does not bear up to scrutiny, something sadly that was not evident in the programme.

With all parties in Scotland and both sides of the constitutional argument supporting the legislation then there is only one way that opponents of the legislation can protest, and that is by abstaining.  In that case it would be impossible to determine which party or campaign might benefit.

BBC Scotland’s reporting of same sex marriage of late has tended to paint the issue as one of the SNP against the churches, especially the Catholic Church.  At best, an unfortunate side effect of sloppy journalism, at worst an attempt to cause mischief for the SNP.]


# Zed 2012-07-26 06:17
I was gobsmacked when Buchanan linked this story to the referendum in a negative way.
Their own clip showed Labour MSP's outside the parliament with Pro same sex protesters. I assume they will be voting for same sex marriage and are part of the No campaign.
More subtle inuendo brit propaganda from Buchanan and the BBC yet again!
# twinpowr 2012-07-26 07:08
The BBC surely have gone too far this time. What the hell has equal marriage and equality as a whole go to do with Independence. Nothing. Are the BBC Homophobic. Is Mr Buchannan homophobic. It would certainly seem that way given Mr Buchannans comments and the fact the bbc allowed this to be aired. The BBC have once again showed complete contempt for the freedoms of the people of Scotland and the LBGT communites as a whole. Shame on you BBC
# UpSpake 2012-07-26 07:11
It's been bad before, this is awful and it'll only get worse that is and until we have had enough of this tripe and pull the plug on the BBC.
We all know that there is only one way to do that and it's not by protesting in the conventiional sense !.
Time to act is NOW !.
# Angus 2012-07-26 07:33
All this back fires, who was the famous gadgie that said you cant fool all of the people all of the time? Aye, Abe Lincoln (and Bob Dylan).
What about all the scare and bully stories of nearly all the mdeia, especially the BBC, over the last 2 Scottish elections, didnt have the desired effect.
# scottish_skier 2012-07-26 07:36

Right, that's it. This whole same sex marriage thing has convinced me I'm totally wrong about Scottish independence. Instead, I'm dumping any left leanings I have and voting Tory all the way!

I 'heart' DC. EDIT, oh no - hold on, he's...

This is probably the most stupid thing from the BBC I have ever heard.

Incidentally, is interesting that the areas of Scotland where the church still forms a large part of life are also those areas which have a long history of voting for Liberal parties.
# hiorta 2012-07-26 07:53
Ah, so another duty 'Scotland-knocker' appears.
The 'Truth Corporation' might be more usefully employed in providing insight into why same-sex folk would choose this option.
In addition, it might provide a platform for dissident theologians to put forward a rational explanation for their stance, rather than indulge in unverifiable opposition.
# Ben Power 2012-07-26 07:57
The voting power of the family and friends of homosexual couples should never be underestimated.
It is enormous.
Also enormous is the same people's financial and community support of the various religions. Attacks on the LGBT community be are watched carefully and resented by the vast majority in our society.
# dundie 2012-07-26 08:20
Oh, look - yet another attempt to 'divide and rule' by the gloriously impartial BBC... However, this one is straining the bounds of credulity even for this famously mis-informed media mouthpiece. All the pro-Union parties solidly supported this legislation, and were quick to jump on the bandwagon when the SNP 'hesitated'; i.e. took their time in forming what has turned out to be a forward-looking and important piece of legislation. Besides which, no religious group is being forced to comply - so where is the problem, except in those of a homophobic mindset? Just another non-story slanted (as always) against a progressive modern government with Scotland's interests at heart.
# Dundonian West 2012-07-26 12:58
AH HA! dundie---nailed on the head:--"another non-story slanted (as always) against a progressive modern government with Scotland's interests at heart."
What's bothering them is it's not their Scotland Establishment Government,and they're (high heid yins and senior editorial staff) not at all pleased,finding it impossible to discard their fixed mindset/starting point when reporting Scotland political news.

British it is,and British it will remain.
"The lady's not for turning".

British Broadcasting Corporation-Scotland.
At least it's honest and unbiased there.
# WRH2 2012-07-26 08:25
Does Raymond Buchanan not realise Westminster's incompetence in dealing with economic issues will have a much bigger impact on how people vote in the referendum? Attempting to link same sex marriage to this is crass, stupid, hurtful and downright insulting. How would he like to be treated as some sort of sub species, denied the same rights as others? People like Raymond Buchanan should try putting themselves in others' shoes and stop attempting to make political mileage out of this. And I agree with Ben Power, they forget the voting power of friends and families of LGBT's at their peril.
# CharlieObrien 2012-07-26 08:28
I really wanted to make a comment ,but it looks like its already been commented on and I concur with most in not all.It is disgraceful "journalism" not good enough to be called sloppy,that is the only part I'd change.
# indy2014 2012-07-26 08:42
I'm fed up saying this but you must complain to the BBC.

Perhaps Newsnet could do an investigation into how Scotland gets sidelined by the BBC, to the point of talking our country down.
I see on this sites A to Z of unionist lies that although Scotland gives about 9% of the licence fee, we only get about 3% [allocated] of the production investment.That's millions of pounds lost in jobs and infrastructure, not to mention getting our point of view or selling Scotland abroad.
Did you know Homes Under the Hammer is labelled BBC Scotland. English show, English presenters and crew, made in England on BEHALF of Scotland. Net gain for Scotland- nothing.
When your watching anti-Scots rhetoric on Question Time you should at least know that we're paying for it.
Wallander is also labelled BBC Scotland!
Maybe Newsnet could list a chart of BBC Scotland programmes that are made outside Scotland, allocated to us by our overlords.
Scotland is loosing out in TENS OF MILLIONS OF POUNDS because an English BBC executive doesn't want to loose their job and we're doing nothing about it.
Please Newsnet, vanguard of Scotland do an investigation so we all can pressure the BBC and both governments and make the BBC fairer.

Also BBC Alba £12.4m funding (half paid for by Scotish Gov). S4C -UK grant £90m plus adverts! I see also that 196 of its programmes were listed as having zero viewers. BBC Alba has yet to make 196 programmes.

Your comment has been passed to the editorial team - NNS Mod
# xyz 2012-07-26 10:38
We happened to catch the BBC entertainment channel in a hotel room in Italy last week. An all English affair as far as I could see.

There was a program I watched called 'The Old Guys' made by BBC Scotland supposedly:

It occurs to me that sending some English actors and technicians to Glasgow for a few days and posting their pay cheques to middle England does not a fair share of the license fee make!

Of course, that Scots are being ethnically cleansed from our TV screens is only one aspect of the constant drip drip drip of the BBC et al('s) British nationalist propaganda.

I enjoy many English programs but frankly, if Scots don't wake up soon we'll be dead, a marginalised minority in our own country.
# Corm 2012-07-26 08:45
Seems like they are grasping at straws now. Pathetic.
# call me dave 2012-07-26 08:53
Bernard Ponsonby last night accused the SNP ( N Sturgeon) of ignoring the consultation on same sex marriage as 60% were against in the overall count.
(I know about the 28000 votes from the pre-prepared forms that the churches issued when taken away gave from the overall total a 60% in favour)

Mr Ponsonby then implied that the results of the independence referendum could not be used to support a 2nd question as the SNP would like as that would be unfair as the SNP shouldn't be able to pick and choose from the data.

This is the sort of thing that will go on relentlessly until the result is declared in 2014.

Ms Sturgeon answer was a promise to make a comment once the referendum consultation data had been processed.
# Independista 2012-07-26 09:05
That was Gordon Brewer on Newsnight Scotland, I think, not Bernard Ponsonsby.
# call me dave 2012-07-26 09:26
Apologies to MR Ponsonby
They dont even look alike: No excuses!
# pa_broon74 2012-07-26 09:06
Call Kaye this morning had this as one of their topics.

Its a weird one, religious types argue from opinion, belief and feeling where as those on the other side argue from a position of equality & what is right.

There were some proper dinosaurs on this morning lambasting the SNP, but I definitely got the impression they weren't overly pleased with anything SNP flavoured so no lost votes there.

Only other thing is, the guy from the equality network queried the figures (60% against in the consultation) and pointed out that that figure only comes when you add in responses from England and Wales.

Don't know if anyone has site of the data, I'd be interested to know the details.

My mind won't change though, its the right thing to do without a doubt. I'm sure when women were throwing themselves in front of race horses there were those who swore blind they should never have the vote.

(Just had a thought, there is a comparison to be made between that David Gauke character/Westminster as a whole and the church. Both institutions have swapped our normal everyday morality for there own and used it to support their respective arguments.)
# Leswil 2012-07-26 09:07
Unfortunately the people of Scotland must scrutinise everything coming out of BBC as it is likely to contain a bias leaning towards the SNP which inadvertently or not is an affront to all Scots, regardless of their political persuasion.

Who should expect to have a balanced report to which they can agree or disagree.

In days of old the BBC were rarely challenged, social media is now a way for that to happen, which puts the credibility of BBC reporting under the spotlight.

While the BBC is generally highly regarded across the world their ethics are now being both challenged and laid bare.

To continue in this vein will increase displeasure of the skewed way their reporting is being seen to be bias.

It is no longer the bastion of accuracy it once was, but is only a mouthpiece of the Unionist policies in their usual attempts to do Scotland down and contain us for their own reasons, the world can now see this for themselves.

It is the downfall of what used to be a great institution, once upon a time.
# tarbat 2012-07-26 09:21
The BBC obviously work on the principle that if they report a lie as fact often enough the public will believe it.

Their reporter should have also observed that:

1. If the SNP choose not to support same sex marriage, then they would risk losing the vote of those that don't want to live in a Scotland where religion dictates political decisions.

2. The anti-independence parties also risk losing support for the union by supporting same sex marriage.
# John Lyons 2012-07-26 09:22
Pa Broon, I think you've got it.

Some of the Catholics/Christians will not see this as a reason to vote against independence, particularly when the UK is a little behind but will probably introduce the same or very similar legislation. So not all Catholic/Christan votes wil be lost. And some were never ours anyway.

The balance will be redressed by the LBGT votes won and their freinds and families AND by people who respect a party that will act for the good of it's people even if it costs them votes. Again some of these were probably going to vote yes anyway, so the changes one way or another will probably not be as dramatic as some are suggesting.
# scottish_skier 2012-07-26 10:14
Yes, this will have abolutely zero impact on the referendum. None, zip, zilch, zero, nada.

Anyone who states so - including the BBC - is just making an utter fool out of themselves.

What will impact the referendum is the prospect of further Tory rule and the fact that devo max will not appear as an option. Economic conditions are the main decider between devo max under Labour or independence. Scotland will never stay in the union under a UK Tory majority.
# balbeggie 2012-07-26 13:36
Agree. Wasn't the decision to release Megrahi supposed to the be the start of the end of the SNP government. I remember reading Political Betting that day which had the boastful claim by many of the right-wing posters on that site 'the day the SNP Government died'. How they do protest too much. The SNP Goverment confounded all those right wing nutters.
# Caadfael 2012-07-26 09:22
NNS, Freudian slip in para 2 of your comment?

Oops, thank you - NNS Mod
# proudscot 2012-07-26 10:28
Good post Pa Broon. I too heard the guy on Call Kaye this morning, making the empty threat that this issue would lose the SNP votes. He was not challenged on this statement by Kaye, who failed to ask him the obvious question, "Who would these people then vote for - given that ALL the Holyrood parties support the proposed legislation?"

As for Buchanan's stupid claim that this might "damage" the SNP, and somehow by association the pro-independence vote, the UK government have signalled their intention to introduce similar legislation in England & Wales. In fact the editorial leader in this morning's Independent urges the UK government to "follow Scotland's lead" in this progressive step towards an equal, fair and inclusive society.

So, how would Buchanan, and the BBC, explain how voting against independence and instead opting for the status quo of the union, provide an alternate unequal, homophobic, theocratic controlled state? Answer - it wouldn't.
# Koenig 2012-07-26 10:36
Once Westminster realises the game is up the will introduce a Devo Max referendum question.

This will allow them to maintain control of our resources and national identity then reverse devolution when Labour get back in power.
# derick fae Yell 2012-07-26 11:56
FB friend Jane Carnall helpfully posted about the consultation results yesterday as follows "standard responses, postcards and every petition signature: 36 per cent of respondents were in favour of same sex marriage and 64 per cent were against. That includes the 28,000 (36% of the total) postcards from the Catholic Church.

Actual consultation responses only, from Scotland and other countries: 49 per cent of respondents were in favour of same sex marriage and 50 per cent were against. Nearly one in five of the responses were from outside Scotland.

Standard responses only: 65 per cent of Scottish respondents were in favour of same sex marriage and 35 per cent were against. Matches the last Ipsos Mori poll almost exactly"
# tarbat 2012-07-26 12:33
This clearly demonstrates that a public consultation should never be treated as a referendum. A public consultation should be used to solicit ideas, get feedback on ideas, etc. But it should never be used to measure support, or otherwise, for a particular policy.

Any public consultation will always be "hijacked" by the best organised group in an effort to suggest that their view is the majority view.
# scottish_skier 2012-07-26 12:37

Numbers you mention. From the SG website.
# ButeHouse 2012-07-26 14:23
Ah, bless the Sainted Jackie Bird she's so helpful at feeding the right questions in a totally innocent manner to her Labour....sorry BBC colleagues outside or indeed inside the studio.

BTW balbeggie, if you must use phrases like these 'right wing nutters' perhaps a triple asterisk might serve as a warning before I and others pebble dash the computer screen.....just a suggestion.

Indy2014 @9.42am makes some very valuable points. All these outside broadcasts to stately homes for various reasons or English villages to buy property or visit museums or any of the other multifarious reasons BBC England dreams up for getting out and about throughout ENGLAND....

...apart from the jobs created and the money paid to said stately homes these are also marvellous FREE Adverts for English Heritage and so forth.

Interestingly BBC Scotland is very poor at this. Is it lack of money or lack of interest?

Or is it that the mindset to keep Scotland down is so carved in stone only direct orders from London or some event so obviously important like the opening of the Holyrood Parliament prevents them from giving Great Scotland 'free publicity'?

VOTE YES in 2014
# Koenig 2012-07-26 15:51
They did ok last night. A programme featured a restoration to Sandford House in Wormit, Fife.

They even had an expert explain how it was a quintessential typical English house and that the restoration was helping to keep alive the idea of an old English way of life.
# Robabody 2012-07-26 16:01
Quoting ButeHouse:
Interestingly BBC Scotland is very poor at this. Is it lack of money or lack of interest?

Or is it that the mindset to keep Scotland down is so carved in stone only direct orders from London or some event so obviously important like the opening of the Holyrood Parliament prevents them from giving Great Scotland 'free publicity'?

VOTE YES in 2014

There are a raft of events that BBC Scotland either does not cover adequately, or ignores, that usually show Scotland up in a good light. They have historic form in this. Additionally they are not content with reporting the news they also twist it to make the news - shades of Elliot Carver. So the latest outburst should come as little surprise.
Like many others on here I look forward to the day when we kiss this malign organisation goodbye – and that'll be a kiss of the Glasgow variety in keeping with the locale. Then we can pick up the pieces and start again, making an organisation that represents the very best of our aspirations, ideas and ideals.
Roll on 2014 indeed - a date with BBC Scotland’s destiny.
# amfraeembro 2012-07-26 15:53
Buchanan disappeared for a while after asking Gordon Matheson about the Orange Order. The re-training seems to have had the desired effect!
# Glenbuchat 2012-07-26 16:21
Raymond Buchanan was merely stating a simple fact of political life: the party of government gets the blame for government sponsored legislation. This holds true even when the legislation is fully supported by opposition parties.

It was Labour who suffered the wrath of the Catholic hierarchy for various pieces of legislation such as the abolition of Section 28, same sex adoption and civil partnerships, despite the fact that they were widely supported by other parties.

As someone who has never voted for the SNP and will enthusiatically vote no in 2014, I would give some credit to the SNP for forging ahead with legislation despite the fact that it may cost them some support.
# Wee-Scamp 2012-07-26 16:27
Although I have to say that this topic is well down my list of things to get excited about there is little doubt that decision to go ahead with the legislation is correct because it acknowledges that a modern Scotland should not succumb to influence from any religious source. I would count this as a sign of growing up.
# rhymer 2012-07-26 16:45
Ah yes Raymond.
Who needs anybody to interview.

You just ask yourself the questions and
then make up your own answers
# brusque 2012-07-26 19:23
I have a philosophy which I'm happy with; if something does not directly impact on me in a harmful/hurtful way, then I don't feel it is any of my business.

In times past people who had never done anything to offend/hurt/harm others, were forced to live a lie. I don't feel I have the right to say whether they should do so in these enlightened times.

But that's just me.

(Oh! and lest I forget; Raymond Buchanan is an absolute .........)
# Briggs 2012-07-26 20:31
They would say they were 'good' Christians spouting this stuff.

'Atheists are us' indeed
# kenneth_clark336 2012-07-27 11:03
Some dreadful comments in today's Courier letters page. Salmond once again accused of acting like Hitler and Stalin. Obviously too good an opportunity to SNP bash for the Courier team to pass up. You can always rely on them for balance!

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