A lesbian couple from Glasgow said ‘I do’ to gay marriage during a mock wedding outside the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh.
Jaye and Ruth Richards-Hill symbolically tied the knot today at Holyrood to call for the legalization of same-sex marriage, as well as allow religious organizations to hold ceremonies if they want to.
Scotland’s ministers will announce the results of a consultation this month, with a finalized bill likely to appear by 2013.
Unlike England and Wales’ legislation, it is planned Scottish churches will be able to bless gay unions but would be free to opt-out.
Teacher Jaye told Gay Star News that despite marrying her partner in South Africa two years ago, where religious organizations are allowed to conduct gay weddings, their union is not legally recognized in the UK.
She said: ‘We wanted a religious marriage not a civil partnership. Unfortunately when we leave Cape Town with our marriage certificate in hand and land in Glasgow, we’re not married.
‘Everyone has the right to equality and that includes freedom to have a religious wedding.
‘We believe that religions, if they want to, should have the ability to marry couples of the same sex. We also believe they should have the right not to. Freedom of religion cuts both ways.’
Her church has already offered to marry them but are prevented from doing so.
‘It’s a nonsense that there will be legal challenges to those who refuse to hold gay weddings,’ she told GSN.
‘We know a lot of Christian denominations who would like to be able to carry out same-sex marriages but are prevented from doing so.
‘That’s wrong, it’s inequality and it needs to be changed and challenged.’
About 100 guests attended the couple’s wedding protest, which also saw a pro-gay marriage petition of 10,000 signatures delivered to the Scottish government.
Tom French from the country’s LGBT rights group, the Equality Network, says Members of the Scottish Parliament now have 25,000 letters, emails and postcards in support of same-sex marriage.
Despite widespread support for a change in the law, there has been fierce opposition from some religious leaders and clerics.
The leader of Scottish Roman Catholic Church has warned of an unprecedented backlash if Alex Salmond, Scotland’s first minister, presses ahead with plans to legalize gay marriage.
He has urged Catholics to donate money to help fund a £100,000 (â‚¬126,089, $154,750) advertising campaign against the plans.