Scottish legislature gives green light to same-sex marriage
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Members of the Scottish Parliament voted 98–15 in a yesterday to approve the , which seeks to legalise marriage between partners of the same sex. If the legislation is passed, Scotland may start allowing same-sex couples to marry in 2015.
Scottish government ministers have attempted to reassuregroups who oppose same-sex marriage they will not be required by law to conduct them, but may "opt in" to conduct ceremonies for same-sex partners. The law also contains provisions that would protect individuals from being required to perform marriages if their congregation has opted-in but they disagree with same-sex marriage.
, the Scottish government health secretary, said the bill "will create a more tolerant society in Scotland and will mean that, in respect of marriage, there is genuinely equal rights right across the entire community".
Support for the bill crossed party lines.from the said the vote was "a demonstration that our Scottish society values everyone — no matter their sexuality".
MSP (Member of Scottish Parliament) — who is herself a lesbian — argued in Parliament that the bill "matters to the future nature of our country. We have an opportunity today to tell our nation's children that, no matter where they live and no matter who they love, there is nothing that they cannot do. We will wipe away the last legal barrier that says that they are something less than their peers. We can help them to walk taller into the playground tomorrow and to face their accuser down knowing that the Parliament of their country has stood up for them and said that they are every bit as good as every one of their classmates."
From the, argued against the claim that existing civil partnership legislation was satisfactory: "I ask the opponents of the bill who comment that civil partnerships were introduced for people whether the suffragettes were happy when the Representation of the People Act 1918 was introduced, allowing women over 30 to vote. No, they were not. They fought for a further decade to enfranchise all women and equalise the voting ages of men and women."
, also a Labour MSP, said she feared MSPs opposing same-sex marriage were being "bounced" into supporting the bill for fear of being branded . "Since indicating that I did not intend to support the redefinition of marriage, my religion's been disparaged, I've been branded homophobic and bigoted, I've been likened to the and it was suggested that I be burnt at the stake as a witch", Smith claimed.
from the said "Parliament is not reflecting public opinion on this issue" and the public was more divided on the issue than the parliamentarians in were.
Outside the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday, a demonstration was held by the LGBT rights groupsupporting the bill. Tom French from the Equality Network said of the vote: "Tonight the Scottish Parliament voted by an overwhelming majority to back same-sex marriage and uphold the principle that we should all be equal under the law."
Colin Macfarlane from the gay rights groupalso welcomed the vote: "This is a truly historic step forward. We're absolutely delighted that MSPs have demonstrated overwhelmingly that they're in touch with the twenty-first century."
Theand the both oppose the Bill. Reverend Dr William Hamilton from the Church of Scotland said while the Church opposes same-sex marriage, they stand against homophobia and "will continue to be a constructive voice in the national debate" about the bill.
In July, thepassed into law in and will allow same-sex couples to marry in and .
- "House of Lords approve same-sex marriage bill at third reading" — Wikinews, July 16, 2013
- Andrew Black. "Gay marriage in Scotland backed in principle by MSPs" — , November 20, 2013
- "Campaigners hail historic vote on Scotland's same sex marriage laws" — , November 20, 2013
- "Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1" — , November 20, 2013