THE widow of former Scottish Liberal leader and Inverness MP Lord Russell-Johnston has resigned as a member of the Liberal Democrats because of its stance on gay marriage.
Joan Johnston (68) has written to party leader Nick Clegg with her resignation and to condemn the party’s position.
"I cannot condone the way the party is promoting gay marriage," she says in the email to Mr Clegg.
"This country is in very grave danger from the consequence of having turned its back on all the fundamental boundaries and principles that have stood it in very good stead over the centuries, the basis for these having been the Ten Commandments as laid down in the Bible."
Lady Johnston, of Southside Road, Inverness, stresses that the last straw was the claim made by him in a recent email that one of the Lib Dems achievements by 2015 will have been the first gay marriage.
But she says she is not homophobic.
"Marriage, as stated in the Bible and whose meaning has been accepted in all dictionaries in existence, is the union between a man and woman, one of the purposes of which is the procreation of children.
"Clearly, therefore, there cannot be a marriage between two people of the same sex. There is nothing homophobic in this stance."
Lady Johnston married Lord Johnston in 1967 and has been a member of the party since 1964.
At the time of his death in 2008, Lord and Lady Russell-Johnston had been estranged for over 10 years but remained close to one another.
Her email said as widow of Lord Johnston, a former leader of the Scottish Liberal Party and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats it was with regret she must resign.
Below is her full letter:
Dear Mr. Clegg,
As the widow of Lord Russell- Johnston, a former Leader of The Scottish Liberal Party and Deputy Leader of The Liberal Democrats, I regret that I must now
resign from The Party. I cannot condone the way The Party is promoting gay ' marriage'.
This country is in very grave danger from the consequence of having turned its back on all the fundamental boundaries and principles that have stood it in very good stead over the centuries, the basis for these having been the Ten Commandments as laid down in the Bible .While no society is ever perfect, the observance of these commandments, together with New Testament Bible teaching have, at the very least, led to recognisable stability . Trying to normalize a society which does not adhere to these principles, has worryingly led to Christians being discriminated against. Your policies go far beyond the boundaries of a kindly tolerance, with the result that, in the interests of a woolly headed liberalism, our former guidelines and boundaries are being recklessly abandoned . The result is a society which is largely geared to the aggrandisement of self and material gain, with very little respect for much else. While I agree that minority groups have a right to be heard, this same right must be afforded to Christians.
As far as I am concerned, the straw that has finally broken the camel’s back is your claim in a recent e-mail to me, that one of the Liberal Democrats’ achievements by 2015 will have been the first gay marriage. Marriage as stated in the Bible and whose meaning has been accepted in all dictionaries in existence, is the union between a man and a woman, one of the purposes of which is the procreation of children. Clearly, therefore, there cannot be a ‘marriage’ between two people of the same sex. There is nothing homophobic in this stance .Although Christians believe that homosexuality is a sinful practice, they accept that homosexuals exist ,and if they want to make their union permanent and recognised legally, there is already a civil ceremony available for that purpose. That is not the issue. The fact that the word 'marriage' should be applied to such a union, and more importantly that such a union should be allowed to take place in a church, is the issue. I also take strong exception to the fact that if the Party advocates the redefining of ‘marriage’ in this way, it follows that this will be promoted in schools as being on the same footing as traditional marriage between a man and a woman. As a Christian, I strongly oppose this.
As a committed Christian, I have no choice but to resign my Party membership forthwith.