Marriage equality for same-sex couples could become a reality in Scotland in 12 to 18 months says MSP Jackie Baillie of the Scottish Labour Party.
Speaking to Gay Star News at a parliamentary reception in Edinburgh for equal marriage on Tuesday evening (1 February) she did admit that it could be dangerous for a politician to make predictions.
‘But I would say [marriage equality] it would be 18 months at the outside – but definitely next year,’ she said.
Baillie pointed out the Scottish government had yet to publish the bill – it is widely predicted that it will be before the summer.
It was planned that the bill would be published next month. But the delay, bisexual Green Party Scotland leader and MSP Patrick Harvie said, has been because there were so many responses from the public during the consultation process.
‘All the responses have to be gone through and considered by the government,’ he said.
Rae Cahill, the deputy chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said it was an ‘immediate priority’ for the members of the Youth Parliament to secure action on the matter of marriage equality.
‘The consultation process was one of the largest, if not the largest, that Scotland has ever seen,’ she said.
Introducing marriage equality for same-sex couples ‘is about doing what is fair, just and right,’ Cahill added.
The question of marriage as it affects couples where one of them in a transgender person was also addressed at the reception.
Pieta and Susie Schofield were married as a heterosexual couple. Today, Pieta is a transgender person. ‘Had I legally changed [my gender identity] to female, I would have been forced to have asked Susie for a divorce. And that is something I am not prepared to do.
‘But I am still a legal male,’ Pieta said, adding that made them still a legal couple.
Tim Hopkins, the director of The Equality Network, the Edinburgh-based group leading the campaign, addressed the suggestion that surfaced during the consultation period that same-sex marriage could only be solemnized by a registrar.
‘That is not equality,’ he emphasised. ‘You cannot have partial equality – equality is equality.’
The proposal for equal marriage has wide support from MSPs from all five of the Scottish Parliament’s political parties.