UK government ‘waiting for Scotland to catch up’ before allowing gay marriage in England and Wales
Insider claims government is hoping English, Welsh and Scottish gay couples will be able to be married at the same time in summer 2014
The UK Government is waiting for Scotland to pass same-sex marriage before gay couples can marry in England and Wales, an official has claimed.
In the four months since the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act was passed into law, no formal reports have been made on implementation.
But while the government remains silent, an anonymous source involved in the development of the law has got in touch with us.
They have claimed it is taking a year because this will be roughly the amount of time the devolved Scottish parliament needs to fast-track the bill.
The aim of achieving Royal Assent for the Scottish version of the legislation is by March 2014.
Claiming it is due to the reformation of computer systems across England, Wales and Scotland, the government source said it will make implementation easier if all three countries are changed at the same time.
An earlier GSN report revealed how it could cost up to £5,003,000 ($8,000,000, €6,000,000) to reform computer systems to allow gay couples to marry, keep civil partnerships and allow trans people to change their legal gender and stay married.
While it is not unusual for the UK government to take time implementing a law, far slower than when the first French same-sex marriages happened three months after legislation was passed, it is odd there is no specific date.
Meanwhile Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has told GSN she thinks the government should ‘speed things up’.
‘These constant delays to the first ceremony are really disappointing,’ she said.
‘In France, it took just three months from the passing of the law to the first ceremonies.
‘Why can’t it be the same here? Couples who love each other should be able to get married whatever their gender or sexuality.’
Peter Tatchell, founder of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, told GSN: ‘There is absolutely no excuse for this inordinate delay. Legislation could have been implemented in six months.
‘No other new law requires uniform coordination between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
‘The government is foolish to delay enactment until a year before the general election when opponents may seek to make same-sex marriage an election issue.’
The most crucial vote for same-sex marriage in Scotland, the stage one vote, will take place on 20 November.
A Department of Culture, Media and Sport spokeswoman has denied the claims, describing them as ‘not true’.
She said: ‘We are working hard to implement the necessary legislative and procedural changes to ensure that the first same-sex marriages can take place by summer 2014.’