God, Sin and Sodomy: Reconciling Religious Identities and Sexual Identities

  • Jeffrey Meek
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History Series book series (GSX)


The Scottish Minorities Group (SMG), from its inception, had identified working with Scotland’s major religious institutions as instrumental in the push for homosexual law reform in Scotland. This could be viewed as giving such organisations undue prominence in matters of sexual morality; after all, Scotland’s largest church — the Protestant Church of Scotland — had not sent a delegation to report to the Wolfenden Committee. The church’s public proclamations during the 1950s and 1960s that homosexuality was both disordered and immoral would have offered non-heterosexual men of faith little hope that a sea change in opinion from Scotland’s religious orders might be forthcoming. The recommendations of the Wolfenden Report would only apply to England and Wales and this has led some to believe that the objections of Scotland’s main church played a significant part in preventing decriminalisation north of the border. However, this would be an over-simplistic analysis of events, as has been discussed. While James Adair’s role in preventing legal equity between Scotland and its neighbours has been overstated, the Church of Scotland’s apparent intransigence belied a fair degree of organisational ambivalence over the legal status of Scottish homosexuals. Adair’s objections were, initially, shared by the Church of Scotland and his minority report certainly accorded with the position of the institution during the 1950s and 1960s, but the fact that this church had undertaken a notable change of direction by the 1970s suggests that opinions were much less rigid than its public proclamations suggested.


Religious Belief Sexual Identity Cognitive Dissonance Religious Faith Catholic Priest 
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Copyright information

© Jeffrey Meek 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey Meek
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GlasgowUK

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