Scottish government sets date for gay marriage

Announcement on marriage equality set for 10 July: MSPs and campaigners urge 'no more delays'

Scottish government sets date for gay marriage
27 June 2012

The Scottish government has revealed that it will announce its decision on same-sex marriage on 10 July.

A discussion will take place at the cabinet meeting that day and a decision will be taken on whether or not the Scottish National Party (SNP) administration will propose a change in the law to give same-sex couples equal marriage rights.

The public consultation on same-sex marriage closed in December with over 50,000 responses, making it by far the biggest consultation in the history of the Scottish Parliament. The results were originally due to be published in March, but are now expected to be published alongside the announcement in July.

Equality campaigners and Members of the Scottish Parlaiment (MSPs) have expressed disappointment that a decision on equal marriage has been delayed for the second time this year, and have urged ‘no more delays’, calling on the Scottish Government to bring forward legislation soon.

Tom French, policy coordinator for the Equality Network, said: ‘Supporters of equality will be disappointed that a decision on equal marriage has been delayed again. There is clear support for equal marriage across the country and in the Scottish Parliament, so we are now calling on the Scottish government to stick by their principles, and bring forward legislation.’

Scottish politicians also urged the government not to delay the matter any longer.

Willie Rennie MSP, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats stated: “After delaying the decision in March and the First Minister assuring me it would be made in June, perhaps it is third time’s a charm with the Scottish government on equal marriage. The majority of MSPs support it, the majority of the Scottish public support it, it is time that the Scottish government began legislating for equal marriage without further delay.’

Patrick Harvie MSP, Leader of the Scottish Green Party declared: ‘Time after time, public support for equal marriage has been shown to be strong in Scotland. Those who want the law to keep treating same-sex couples as second class citizens are in the wrong, and in the minority. It’s time now to press ahead with this overdue change in the law.’

While Mary Fee, a Scottish Labour MSP, said: ‘I am disappointed that the Scottish government has delayed the announcement on equal marriage despite promising a statement before the end of the parliamentary term.’

Speaking for the Scottish government, Marco Biagi an out gay SNP MSP, said: ‘After months of public debate it is now clear that equal marriage has the support of a majority of the public. The hotly anticipated bill on equal marriage is worthy of speedy introduction and will undoubtedly now receive widespread backing from both public and Parliament.’

Sources close to the SNP believe that Nicola Sturgeon MSP, the minister responsible for the proposals, will be championing a change in the law to bring about full marriage equality for same-sex couples, including allowing both civil and religious marriage.

However, the Sunday Times reported in May that some ministers were privately briefing against legislation, quoting one source as saying ‘the ministers who have doubts about same-sex marriage are just being pragmatic, it does not make sense for the SNP to have this fight.’

Earlier this month the Equality Network announced that a majority of MSPs had signed its Equal Marriage Pledge, committing themselves to voting in favour of same-sex marriage. 74 MSPs have now said they will vote in favour, whilst just nine remain opposed.

Opinion polls have shown consistent public support for same-sex marriage. An Ipsos MORI poll conducted in June for the Equality Network showed record support with 64% of Scots in favour of a change in the law, and just 26% opposed. Separate polls conducted over the past two years by Populus, YouGov, Angus Reid, and the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey have all shown similar results.

Opponents of same-sex marriage have claimed that a majority of responses are against a change in the law, but the Equality Network have warned against ‘prejudging’ the consultation or treating it as ‘a numbers game’, arguing ‘this is a consultation not a referendum or an opinion poll, what matters most is the quality of the arguments and the strength of the evidence, not the volume of responses’.



No thumbnail available

This is why UKIP should be allowed to march at Pride in London

UK Independence Party has been criticized for anti-LGBTI views
No thumbnail available

Perez Hilton survives Celebrity Big Brother eviction - just

Attention-seeking gossip blogger stripped to his underwear to celebrate
No thumbnail available

New Mexico's attorney general refuses to defend state's gay marriage ban in court filing

Gary King is a Democrat who plans to run for governor next year
No thumbnail available

Artist Louis Briel shares with GSN why he painted a portrait of Dustin Lance Black

'I wanted to capture the guy under that killer smile and the seemingly boundless energy'
No thumbnail available

Ne-Yo denies he's gay after satire website publishes his 'coming out'

Site claimed R&B singer was 'inspired to come out by Caitlyn Jenner'
No thumbnail available

Joe McElderry to star in Corrie musical

Gay X Factor winner Joe McElderry will star in the musical version of British TV soap Coronation Street
No thumbnail available

Birmingham Pride tops UK fundraising chart in first paid year

Organizers of Birmingham Pride in England’s second city made it a paid event for the first time this May and walked away with a profit for charity
No thumbnail available

Michael Sam admits that as NFL draft went on, he started to second guess himself

'I was like, "Maybe I shouldn't have done what I did"' and come out
No thumbnail available

Gay sister of Australian opposition leader wins Sydney council seat

Tony Abbott’s sister Christine Forster wins a seat on Sydney’s council
No thumbnail available

Kurt and Blaine will reunite - and go ice skating - on Glee's holiday episode

Popular gay couple had emotional split earlier this season