Scotland: Another Country That May Get Marriage Equality Before The U.S.

How about that David Blankenhorn news? So great to have him on our side now—especially since he was the star witness testifying on behalf of Prop 8.

That’s the lead on this week’s MNW, plus some encouraging poll results in battleground states. It’s looking like we may actually have some victories this November, but the finish line’s still a long way off.

Plus: great polling numbers in Scotland. Who knew? Must be all those kilts.

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  • Jae

    As Scotland is a part of the UK, then surely the USA beat us to it when Mass. introduced marriage equality??? I know this confuses certain people but Scotland is not an independent country (and I do hope they choose to stay with the rest of us Brits when they get the chance to vote in 2014)

  • Frank

    The Brits have had Civil Partnerships for a few years now…and Scotland is not an independent country…therefore, whoever wrote of copies and pasted this story must have studied Journalism at the University of Bujumbura…or learned in online

  • The Real Mike in Asheville


    For the purposes of many civil issues, including marriage, Scotland’s semi-autonomous status applies as being independent from the UK. This issue is theirs to decide and implement irrespective of the decision on the same matter being deliberated in the UK that will affect England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is fair to say that as a country, Scotland will most likely implement marriage equality long before the US.

    (FYI, while it is extremely important the actions taken in Massachusetts and the other states and DC which have enacted marriage equality, our national government does not recognize same-sex marriage. So Jae, what is happening in Scotland is not like what happened in Mass.)

    Cheers to Scotland — my husband’s maternal grandfather was a Scot and we are delighted that those of his heritage are embracing marriage equality.

  • Mark

    Unlike their Celtic cousins in the Republic of Ireland who broke away from the United Kingdom in 1922, the Scotch have not yet won their independence from England. (But apparently they are working on it)

  • dave

    Scotland is a nation but it is not a nation-state. A country in the modern legal sense equals a nation-state, which Scotland is not. At least, not yet. Massachusetts was never a country. Scotland was once an independent country and will probably be again, but it’s not today.

  • Some Random Guy

    @Chris: “Scotland has its own devolved government.”

    So first they devolved, and then they evolved!

  • Cdub

    Scotland is not a state, like Massachusetts, nor a region, but a country, which is part of a wider union of countries (the UK). This is very easy to grasp.

    If, as is expected, the devolved Scottish Parliament passes a bill then Scotland will be the eleventh *country* to introduce same-sex marriage.

    If, and when, the UK parliament passes such a bill then that would obviously only apply to England & Wales.

    And please: we are Scots, or Scottish, not Scotch, like the whisky.

  • Cdub

    ^Sorry, twelfth, not eleventh.

  • Oh well

    The use of the word “country” for Scotland is not incorrect, being a historically accepted way of designating the members of the U.K. However, this is an idiosyncratic use of the word, because Scotland is not a country in the sense that the U.S. is a country. Rather, the status of Scotland is more closely comparable to that of a U.S. state like Massachusetts, so the title of this article is incorrect, in comparing apples to oranges. If Scotland gets marriage equality, the U.K. will finally have caught up with the U.S. in that it will then have a part where gay marriage is legally recognized, but the U.S. years ago achieved this particular milestone.

  • ilovesomosas

    Wow, did you guys fail freshman social studies? Scotland is not a country. A nation-yes. But nations do not have to have legal sovereignty. A country does. If you’re going to consider Scotland a country, than you have to include Catalonia and Quebec.

    Scotland is not a country.

  • ilovesomosas

    To further clarify (
    There are eight accepted criteria used to determine whether an entity is an independent country (also known as a State with a capital “s”) or not.

    A country need only fail on one of the eight criteria to not meet the definition of independent country status. Scotland does not meet all eight criteria; it fails on six of the eight criteria…

    Has space or territory that has internationally recognized boundaries (boundary disputes are OK).

    Yes, Scotland does have internationally recognized boundaries. Scotland is 78,133 square kilometers in area.

    Has people who live there on an ongoing basis.

    Yes, according to the 2001 census, Scotland’s population is 5,062,011.

    Has economic activity and an organized economy. A country regulates foreign and domestic trade and issues money.

    Somewhat. Scotland certainly has economic activity and an organized economy; Scotland even has its own GDP (over 62 billion pounds as of 1998). However, Scotland does not regulate foreign or domestic trade, the Scottish Parliament is not authorized to do so.

    Under the terms of the Scotland Act 1998, the Scottish Parliament is able to pass laws on a range of issues known as “devolved issues.” The United Kingdom Parliament is able to act on “reserved issues.” Reserved issues include a variety of economic issues: fiscal, economic and monetary system; energy; common markets; and trade and industry.

    The Bank of Scotland does issue money but it prints the British pound on behalf of the central government.

    Has the power of social engineering, such as education.

    Somewhat. The Scottish Parliament is able to control education, training, and social work (but not social security). However, this power was granted to Scotland by the UK Parliament.

    Has a transportation system for moving goods and people.

    Somewhat. Scotland itself has a transportation system but the system is not fully under Scottish control. The Scottish Parliament controls some aspects of transportation, including the Scottish road network, bus policy and ports and harbors while the UK Parliament controls railways, transport safety and regulation. Again, Scotland’s power was granted by the UK Parliament.

    Has a government that provides public services and police power.

    Somewhat. The Scottish Parliament has the ability to control law and home affairs (including most aspects of criminal and civil law, the prosecution system and the courts) as well as the police and fire services. The UK Parliament controls defense and national security across the United Kingdom. Again, Scotland’s power was granted to Scotland by the UK Parliament.

    Has sovereignty. No other State should have power over the country’s territory.

    No. The United Kingdom Parliament definitely has power over Scotland’s territory.

    Has external recognition. A country has been “voted into the club” by other countries.

    No. Scotland does not have external recognition nor does Scotland have its own embassies in other independent countries.

    Thus, as you can plainly see, Scotland (nor Wales, nor Northern Ireland, nor England itself) is not an independent country nor is it a State. However, Scotland is most certainly a nation of people living in an internal division of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

  • Esculapio Mitiríades Torquedama de la Cueva


    Scotland isn’t a country. Not in the same way that the US or Canada or Chile or Nigeria or Turkmenistan are countries. Nice try at making up facts, though.

  • tjr101

    Umm, since when Scotland is a country? Don’t see it having its own representation at the UN. It’s not recognized as such.

  • CR

    The interesting thing about Scotland implementing marriage equality is that the rest of the UK will have to recognise it. There is no facility for ignoring marriages made in different parts of the UK under different rules.

    So if Scotland does it then the UK does it. Its probably why the current conservative prime minister says he is going to do it in England and Wales before 2015, so the Scottish don’t make him look stupid.

  • CR

    As for the people above arguing over if Scotland is a country, it is the language commonly used in the UK but it legally isn’t and hasn’t been since the act of union more that 300 years ago.

    It is a semi-auntonomous region like Bavaria in Germany. It is less independent of central government than Quebec, Catalonia or any US state.

    They are going to have a referendum on independence soon but it is unlikely they will vote to leave unless the separatists can change public opinion by a very significant amount. In the latest polls independence was supported by about 32 to 38 percent of people.

  • Robert in NYC

    @Cdub: As deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said recently, it’s no longer a question of if, but “how” and “when”. Equal marriage IS coming to England and Wales. The equalities minister Lynne Featherstone who headed the recent equal marriage consultation in London that ended on June 14 said that support has come from the most unexpected places. The vast majority of the British public support it. It’s coming whether the haters like it or not. The UK will either be the 13th or 14th country to legalize it, following France which is expected to introduce it in early 2013.

  • Robert in NYC

    @Oh well: Yes, but in the U.S. legally gay married couples do not enjoy full marriage equality until the federal government lifts the ban on DOMA and the 1100 rights and privileges conferred at the federal level are implemented for gay couples. Gay British couples who intend to marry will have full marriage rights just like those in the eleven countries where we can marry. Plus, UK gays can bring in their foreign born partners, a law that has been in place for a number of years, and they don’t even have to be in a legal union to do it, but merely provide proof of dependency. Another right that gay American couples do not yet enjoy, married or not. If Romney is elected, we can kiss all of that goodbye.

  • Oh well

    @Robert in NYC, I agree. Given DOMA, what we have in U.S. states like Massachusetts is not yet real gay marriage.

  • Cdub

    “Nice try at making up facts, though.”

    Not at all. These are the facts. England is a country. As is Scotland. None of the four constituent parts of the UK are independent, but together they make up the UK, which is also a country. Technically, whilst we’re at it, Northern Ireland is a province, and Wales a principality, but they are generally considered countries too. This is widely documented: – UK office of statistics

    Very basic. Know your geography. It is an unusual setup, but no reason to spread myths.

    Scotland will likely be the twelfth country to legalise same-sex marriage. End of.

  • Some Random Guy

    Maybe grasping at straws here. There’s a simple, colloquial use of the word “country.” For instance, on an episode of “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares,” Gordon Ramsay goes to Scotland to fix up an awful restaurant, and refers to their trying to bring French cuisine “to my native country.”

    A native of Puerto Rico, for instance, might use “country” in that colloquial sense. Puerto Rico has an Olympic team, I think, even if it’s not generally called a country by (other) Americans.

  • ilovesomosas


    By your logic then every state in the U.S. is a country.

  • Jean

    The difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England Explained

    (My apologies for the short commercial, but the 5 minute video is worth it!)

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