I don't have any problem about religious folk expressing their views about morality, nor even around issues of public policy and legislation. They have a moral agenda based around their philosophy and they are as entitled as anyone with a soapbox on Hyde Park Corner to shout it as loud as they wish. Some of my best religious people are friends, and whilst they may preach their various faiths to me, I am no more obliged to agree with them than they are to accept my atheist (or political) views.
Which is why I don't think the Scottish Parliament (so much less risk averse than Westminster) should pay the slightest bit of attention to the call by the Catholic Church for a referendum on same-sex marriage. Cardinal O'Brien and his flock can have their say on legislation passed at Holyrood in exactly the same way as everyone else, through the ballot box at an election. I would no more support a referendum on same-sex marriage than I would favour a call by Alex Salmon for a referendum on whether we should allow the Roman Catholic Church to exist.
If Cardinal O'Brien expects the Scottish Parliament to hold a referendum and agree to abide by the outcome on same-sex marriage, would he be equally happy for the referendum to include a question compelling religious organisations to carry out same sex marriage ceremonies if there was popular support for it? I suspect not, and I equally suspect the Catholic Church would give short shift to any such proposal, and they would tell the Scottish government to stop interfering in their business.
Well, physician, heal yourself… and be careful what you wish for.