Government Announcement Moves Scotland Closer To Gay Marriage

After a lengthy public consultation, the government in Scotland announced it will bring forward a bill supporting marriage equality for gays and lesbians.

“We are committed to a Scotland that is fair and equal and that is why we intend to proceed with plans to allow same-sex marriage and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships,” said Scotland’s deputy first minister, Nicola Sturgeon. “We believe that this is the right thing to do.”

The effort—which could see ceremonies starting in 2015—has had broad support among both the country’s various political parties and the public itself: Of the 77,508 responses to the consultation, 65% were in favor of marriage equality and 35% against.

Currently, same-sex couples can enter into civil partnerships, which offer the same access to inheritance, pensions, insurance and child custody but don’t have access to religious ceremonies. Sturgeon also made it clear that provisions exist to ensure clergy that did not want to conduct same-sex ceremonies wouldn’t have to.

Of course, religious conservatives are still coming up with excuses why marriage equality would be disastrous. Rev. Alan Hamilton, a legal scholar for the Church of Scotland, says he’s concerned the government isn’t doing enough to protect clergy and churches “whose beliefs prevent them from celebrating civil-partnerships or same-sex marriages.”

The laws are already in place. What more do you want, Reverend—a doctor’s note?

Unsurprisingly, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said the government was “embarking on a dangerous social experiment on a massive scale.”

Back in England, David Cameron’s government is currently consulting on upgrading civil unions there to full marriages. Could there be a friendly competition in Great Britain to see who reaches the equality finish line first?

We’re totally jealous.

Photo: Gay Weddings in Scotland

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  • Cal

    Even if introduced at the same time as the England & Wales legislation, the proposed legislation South of the border does not include any provision for religious ceremonies.

  • kayo

    All the places that have issues with gay marriage HELLO USA, have just one thing to ponder: you want to be like north european countries and canada, where gay marriage is legal and the countries are the best and safest in the world, or like africa where gays are killed for being gay and are the worst place to live? please…

  • Charlie

    Frae Bonnie Scotland!

  • Robert in NYC

    First of all Queerty, the consultation in London concluded on June 14, 2012, meaning that the ‘consulting’ part of the process is over. A report is due at the end of the year at which time a first draft to introduce equal marriage will be presented to Parliament followed by a second draft with any amendments which will probably inclue an opt out for those denominations which don’t want to participate in same-sex ceremonies and a provision for those that do.

    Cal, David Cameron backs religious ceremonies for same-sex couples and this may well end up becoming an amendment to the second draft for legislation. It will probably be identical to Scotland’s. A third and final reading will be followed by a free vote and will probably pass, then heads to the House of Lords for a final vote. If the upper house were to vote it down (probably won’t happen), the Prime Minister can invoke the Parliament Act which would override the vote of the upper chamber and the legislation becomes law.

  • skeloric

    I have this terrible nightmare.
    It is where all of the Europe Union and probably even most of the rest of the world manage to accomplish Equal Marriage long before the United States even makes a serious attempt at Equal Marriage at the Federal level.
    It is wonderful that so many places ‘out there’ are moving forward, I just wish I could be proud of my own nation for once.

  • Shytty England

    And of course crappy ole England is still lagging behind while the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, and even Spain already have marriage equality. So much for England being progressive.

  • Chuck

    Actually, even in the article you reference Queerty, it says:

    Some 64% of those who responded [including postcard and petition responses] said they were against same-sex marriage.

    Excluding postcard and petition responses to the consultation from within Scotland the outcome shows 65% were in favour and 35% against.

    This is a huge discrepancy in statistics, and I don’t know what to think about this.

  • freddie

    @Shytty England: Umm, did you read the story? England is in the process of legalising gay marriage at the moment. And where’s the land of free on this?

  • Randal Oulton

    Canada got there first in the Commonwealth, yay Canada!

  • Robert in NYC

    @Chuck: The Telegraph and Daily Mail, two of England’s tabloids with a right wing slant aren’t to be taken seriously. Their readers are mostly pig-ignorant homophobes and many of them are religious. 65% of the British public support equal marriage according to several polls conducted since 2010 which is why David Cameron’s colition conservative government is supporting it. The consultation ended on June 14, 2012 and a report will be issued later in the year. Consultations aren’t the final word even if the public were overwhelmingly against equal marriage north or south of the Scottish border, but aren’t. Those who bothered to respond to the consultation are mostly homophobes and religious bigots. It means nothing. The fact that the majority of the Scottish National Party support equal marriage is indicative of the population it represents. Ditto in England. Pay no attention to what you read in those two rags. If Scotland had already legalized equal marriage, both of them would still be spinning illogical rants and refusing to accept the fact that equal marriage is a reality.

  • Robert in NYC

    @freddie: Exactly right, freddie! The process is a little different in England, in fact a bit more complex which is why it’s taking longer. It will succeed eventually. There was the same dissent when the Civil Partnership legislation was in consultation in 2004 and the results very similar, in fact just as vociferous and hateful as the equal marriage campaign and look what happened, it passed. This too shall pass, inevitable.

    Shytty England, you need to do more reading on the situation in England. As for progressiveness, I’ll remind you that of all the other progressive countries you mentioned, the UK still confers more individual rights for LGBT people than any of them even though equal marriage isn’t yet legal but coming. Are you aware that the UK allows a foreign born partner of a British gay citizen to reside and work in the UK and he or she doesn’t even have to have any legal union to qualify? It’s been the law for almost 12 years. That’s just one of the many progressive rights the UK grants it’s gay people. Civil Partnerships currently confer virtually all of the rights of marriage without the name and British gay couples don’t have to worry about where they can live to enjoy all of those rights in their own country, unlike the U.S. If they moved to France for example, the wouldn’t enjoy all of those rights under the French version. At least the UK is going to legislate for equal marriage and have full equality. So where is the U.S. in all of this? Progressive?

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