Scottish Parliament Approves Gay Marriage
Members of the Scottish Parliament have voted in favour of same-sex marriage, in the first step towards its recognition in Scotland.
The Scottish Parliament has voted in favour of same-sex marriage. Although it faces two more “parliamentary hurdles”, the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill received 98 votes in favour, and only 15 votes against (and 5 abstentions).
If the legislation is passed, same-sex marriage could take place in Scotland by early 2015.
Alex Neil, the Scottish government’s Health Minister, said the bill: “will create a more tolerant society in Scotland and will mean that, in respect of marriage, there is genuinely equal rights right across the entire community.”
Ruth Davidson, the openly gay leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said: “I want that right to extend, not just to me, but also to the thousands of people across Scotland who are told that the law says ‘no’.” She emphasised that this is compatible with her respect for the institution of marriage.
The Church of Scotland, the Catholic Church, and individual MSPs oppose same-sex marriage because they think it will undermine “traditional marriage.”
Mary Fee, a Labour MSP, challenged this: “Having been married for 36 years and raised two children, I strive to understand how introducing this legislation takes anything away from my marriage.”
Religious bodies and ministers will be free to “opt-in” to performing same-sex ceremonies according to their beliefs.