Latest Public Sector News

25.07.12

Scotland to introduce gay marriage – Sturgeon

Scotland is to become the first country in the UK to introduce gay marriage, SNP ministers have confirmed. A bill on the issue will be brought forward later this year.

The news has been welcomed by equality groups but received strong opposition from the Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland. Other faith groups, including Quakers, Buddhists and the Pagan Federation have pledged their support for the change.

Same-sex couples can currently enter civil partnerships in Scotland, which offer the same legal treatment as marriage, but are still seen as distinct. Heterosexual couples may choose to have a religious ceremony, or a civil service.

No part of the religious community will be forced to hold same-sex weddings, minister have clarified, andScotlandwill now work with the rest of the UK to ascertain what extra measures will be needed to guarantee freedom of speech, to amend the UK Equality Act.

Scotland’s deputy first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said: “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 – we believe that this is the right thing to do.

“We are also mindful of the fact that the leaders of all of the other parties represented in parliament support same sex marriage and that there is significant parliamentary support for legislation.

“The Scottish government has already made clear that no religious body will be compelled to conduct same sex marriages and we reiterate that today. Such protection is provided for under existing equality laws.

“However, our view is that to give certainty on protection for individual celebrants taking a different view from a religious body that does agree to conduct same sex marriages, an amendment will be required to the UK Equality Act.”

The decision follows a government consultation, which produced a record number of responses; 77,508.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Image c. Allan Milligan 

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