Scottish churches fight easier divorce plan

 Church leaders in Scotland are planning to campaign against the Scottish Executive's proposed family law reforms which will make divorce easier. Under the new laws, Justice Minister Jim Wallace would reduce the period of separation required for 'no-fault' divorces from two years to one, where both parties agree, and from five years to two, where one objects to the divorce. Mr Wallace also wants to extend parental rights to unmarried fathers and give new protection to tenancies of shared homes for people who live together. John Deighan, the Catholic parliamentary officer, said the church would lobby all members of the Scottish parliament, particularly those on the justice committee to prevent the proposals from becoming law. Observers predict the campaign could lead to another conflict like that fought over Section 28. Several churches in Scotland have signalled their opposition to the Executive's White Paper on family law reform. They say the planned measures destabilise family life, undermining the status of marriage and promoting the option of co-habitation. This week, First Minister Henry McLeish held informal meetings with Cardinal Thomas Winning, leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland and the Rev Andrew McLellan, Moderator of the Church of Scotland.

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