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Scotland to unveil gay marriage bill next month

Scotland to unveil gay marriage bill next month

The Scottish government will introduce a bill to allow same-sex marriage in June.

Ministers have promised to change the law, but also to protect the rights of religious groups who do not want to carry out ceremonies.

Alex Salmond, the First Minister of Scotland, has remained resolutely in favor of introducing same-sex marriage to Scotland, while the Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church are against the plans.

Once the legislative proposal is lodged it will head to parliament for further scrutiny among the members of Scottish parliament (MSPs).

Alex Neil, the Health Secretary, has said he is working with the House of Commons’ Culture Secretary Maria Miller on perfecting the same-sex marriage bill.

Speaking to MSPs, Neil said: ‘Obviously we have given a commitment to introduce this legislation after the extensive consultation we have had as quickly as possible, which is what we’re doing.

‘I would hope the timetabling would be such that we could see this Bill become law sooner rather than later.’

A consultation on the proposed Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) bill closed in March, but the responses have yet to be revealed.

Labour’s Drew Smith asked Neil on when gay couples in Scotland would be able to get married, and he said the first weddings could take place ‘before or after the September 2014 referendum.

The UK government plans to legalize equal marriage in England and Wales cleared the House of Commons last week, with it heading to the House of Lords soon.

In Northern Ireland, there are currently no plans for same-sex marriage to be made legal.