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Scotland racing to give gay couples equality

Alex Salmond's government will announce legislation for gay marriage and straight civil partnerships next week
Alex Salmond's government should reveal their plans for same-sex marriage and straight civil partnerships for Scotland next week.

Scotland is racing to catch up with England and Wales to give gay couples full equality under the law.

The devolved government are expected to finally outline their proposals to legalize same-sex marriage next week.

Going one step further than England and Wales, they are also expected to allow straight couples to enter civil partnerships.

Civil partnerships were first made legal in 2005, giving gay couples the ability to register their unions. They were given similar, but not all, the same legal recognition as married heterosexuals.

A spokesman from gay rights charity Equality Network, which has campaigned in favor of same-sex marriage and straight civil partnerships, supported the Scottish government’s plans.

Tom French said: ‘Opening up civil partnership to mixed-sex couples has always been a key aim of the equal marriage campaign in Scotland and is supported by the majority of Scots.

‘The Equality Network believes the law should be equal with the same choices for everyone.

‘We hope the Scottish Government will set out a clear path to changing the law in this area.’

Last year, First Minister Alex Salmond said he remained ‘committed’ to giving gay couples marriage equality.

In England and Wales, some politicians and gay rights campaigners have pushed for straight civil partnerships.

Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary and Equalities Minister, has disagreed with the proposals saying the legislation is only about opening up the institution of marriage to same-sex couples.

A spokesman for Scotland for Marriage, which is opposed to gay equality, told The Scotland Herald giving straight couples the option of civil partnerships would ‘wreck’ marriage.

‘This won't redefine marriage; it will wreck it. It will introduce a marriage-lite alternative for straight couples who don't want to get hitched, giving them all of the rights of marriage with none of the matrimonial responsibilities,’ they said.

The equal marriage and civil partnership legislation is expected to be revealed by the Scottish government on Tuesday (25 June).

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