Gay marriage to be introduced in Scotland

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Scotland could become the first part of the UK to introduce gay marriage after the SNP government announced plans to make the change.

Ministers confirmed they would bring forward a bill on the issue, indicating the earliest ceremonies could take place by the start of 2015.

Political leaders, equality organisations and some faith groups welcomed the move.

But it was strongly opposed by the Catholic Church and Church of Scotland.

The announcement was made in the wake of a government consultation which produced a record 77,508 responses.

Same-sex couples in Scotland currently have the option to enter into civil partnerships and the Holyrood government has insisted no part of the religious community would be forced to hold same-sex weddings in churches.

The Scottish government said;

it would work with UK ministers to amend equality laws to protect celebrants from legal or disciplinary action if they refuse to take part or speak out against same-sex ceremonies.
a bill would be brought forward to the Scottish Parliament later this year to bring in the change.

Scotland's deputy first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said: "We are committed to a Scotland that is fair and equal and that is why we intend to proceed with plans to allow same-sex marriage and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships - we believe that this is the right thing to do.

She went on: "The Scottish government has already made clear that no religious body will be compelled to conduct same-sex marriages and we reiterate that today. Such protection is provided for under existing equality laws.

"However, our view is that to give certainty on protection for individual celebrants taking a different view from a religious body that does agree to conduct same-sex marriages, an amendment will be required to the UK Equality Act."

The Scottish government said it was now going ahead with another consultation to consider what extra measures are needed to guarantee freedom of speech, including the protection of religious beliefs of teachers and parents in schools.

Ministers said the Scottish Catholic Education Service would continue to decide on the faith content of the curriculum in Catholic denominational schools.

Welcoming the government's approach, Tom French, policy co-ordinator for the Equality Network, said: "Same-sex marriage is about equality and freedom - the freedom for couples, and religious and humanist groups that want to, to celebrate same-sex marriages, but equally, upholding the freedom of other religious groups to say no to same-sex marriages.

"That's the right way for Scotland to deal with the different opinions on this."

The Church of Scotland, which will report on its own investigation of the issue in May 2013, expressed concern the government was rushing ahead with its plans.

The Rev Alan Hamilton, convener of the Church of Scotland legal questions committee, said: "We are acutely aware that opinions differ among our own members and that many people are anxious and hurt in the current situation.

"We believe homophobia to be sinful and we reaffirm our strong pastoral commitment to all people in Scotland, regardless of sexual orientation or beliefs."

He added: "We are concerned the government will legislate without being able to effectively protect religious bodies or their ministers whose beliefs prevent them from celebrating civil-partnerships or same-sex marriages."

A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said: "The Scottish government is embarking on a dangerous social experiment on a massive scale.

"We strongly suspect that time will show the Church to have been completely correct in explaining that same-sex sexual relationships are detrimental to any love expressed within profound friendships."

Civil partnerships in Scotland offer the same legal treatment as marriage, but are still seen as distinct from marriage.

The UK government, which is consulting on changing the status of civil ceremonies to allow gay and lesbian couples in England and Wales to get married, wants to make the change by 2015.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-18981287

with my brother being gay, my love of wedding cake and the my family having basically ran some of the more notable campaigns against homophobic bigotry in Scotland (in relation to section 28 and brian souter's private referendum) today i will be forgoing "we're all dooomed!!!" dour Scot services.

image

normal service will no doubt be resumed at a later date :P

captcha : "marital aid" oO someone phone John Connor pls...

Good on you Scots.

Welcome to the club :)

Let's have a race!
Who will introduce it first!? :P

Lethos:
Let's have a race!
Who will introduce it first!? :P

Yeah, bad enough being beaten by the Canadians, now the Scots as well?

One wonders if it will be recognised in the rest of the UK.

This is fantastic news. I only wish Wales could make this decision too. :/

But it was strongly opposed by the Catholic Church and Church of Scotland.

"We strongly suspect that time will show the Church to have been completely correct in explaining that same-sex sexual relationships are detrimental to any love expressed within profound friendships."

The Netherlands has had it for over a decade. How much time do you need?

Mr Cwtchy:
This is fantastic news. I only wish Wales could make this decision too. :/

But it was strongly opposed by the Catholic Church and Church of Scotland.

actually i was quite encouraged by The Kirks reaction.

The Rev Alan Hamilton, convener of the Church of Scotland legal questions committee, said: "We are acutely aware that opinions differ among our own members and that many people are anxious and hurt in the current situation.

"We believe homophobia to be sinful and we reaffirm our strong pastoral commitment to all people in Scotland, regardless of sexual orientation or beliefs."

He added: "We are concerned the government will legislate without being able to effectively protect religious bodies or their ministers whose beliefs prevent them from celebrating civil-partnerships or same-sex marriages.""

gotta love that mile wide egalitarian streak.

Oh, I thought all you UK guys already had this. Huh. Well it's a good thing anyway. I suppose I need to read more. Wow do I feel like a stereotypical oblivious American right now.

Revnak:
Oh, I thought all you UK guys already had this. Huh. Well it's a good thing anyway. I suppose I need to read more. Wow do I feel like a stereotypical oblivious American right now.

The UK has civil unions/partnerships for gay couples, not marriage. Rundown here

Scotland would be the first UK country (assuming they remain a UK country ;p) to allow gay marriage, though the rest of the UK doesn't seem too far behind.

It's a good thing.

But from what I understand, there seems to be some sort of connection between the churches and marriage in Scotland and priests can actually perform marriages?

If so, why not change that while at it? Get rid of the entire discussion about those poor priests not being 'forced' to set aside their hatred for other people to perform a ceremony. It would also prevent a very dangerous precedent in equality laws. Because if priests can legally discriminate, then why not others?

thaluikhain:
One wonders if it will be recognised in the rest of the UK.

Well the UK as a whole seems to be heading towards marriage equality as well, my guess would be that the gap between its implementation in Scotland and England/Wales will probably only end up being a few months and the question of recognition will be solved by that.

I'm interested that Scotland will also be expanding civil partnerships, I figured that after marriage equality was implemented they'd either upgrade civil partnerships to marriages or prevent any new civil partnerships from going ahead. As a consequence, is it likely that civil partnerships will be changed so that straight couples can have them too?

This news makes me both happy and bitter. I am genuinely happy that another country, and one that has such strong historical and cultural connections to the country I'm from too, will now have full equality for its gay citizens. At the same time though, I can't understand for the life of me why the governments of Australia have such a problem with this. A month ago the state government downgraded my civil partnership to a "registered relationship", the thought of being able to call myself married still seems like it's a lifetime away.

Amnestic:

Revnak:
Oh, I thought all you UK guys already had this. Huh. Well it's a good thing anyway. I suppose I need to read more. Wow do I feel like a stereotypical oblivious American right now.

The UK has civil unions/partnerships for gay couples, not marriage. Rundown here

Scotland would be the first UK country (assuming they remain a UK country ;p) to allow gay marriage, though the rest of the UK doesn't seem too far behind.

By the end of the current parliament is the timeframe on it for England + Wales so by April 2015 at the latest.

Good job, Scotland. Nice to see good sense catching on.

ten.to.ten:
This news makes me both happy and bitter. I am genuinely happy that another country, and one that has such strong historical and cultural connections to the country I'm from too, will now have full equality for its gay citizens. At the same time though, I can't understand for the life of me why the governments of Australia have such a problem with this. A month ago the state government downgraded my civil partnership to a "registered relationship", the thought of being able to call myself married still seems like it's a lifetime away.

Yeah, I know. Supposedly the bigots are the minority, they must just care about it enough to change voting trends more.

Hopefully the rest of the world will catch up soon. At this point there is no evidence showing there is any significant harm in same sex marriages and thus the government should get its bloody nose out of people's personal lives.

Blablahb:
It's a good thing.

But from what I understand, there seems to be some sort of connection between the churches and marriage in Scotland and priests can actually perform marriages?

If so, why not change that while at it? Get rid of the entire discussion about those poor priests not being 'forced' to set aside their hatred for other people to perform a ceremony. It would also prevent a very dangerous precedent in equality laws. Because if priests can legally discriminate, then why not others?

I don't know the Scottish situation, but in both Canada and the US a religious person, just like a non religious person, can be certified to marry people under civil law. Since religious people like religious services, the religious leader officiates both ceremonies simultaneously (or sometimes one after the other).

If a religion doesn't allow homosexual marriage, then that religious person just wouldn't take the job officiating because they only do those joint services and that person wouldn't qualify for the joint service.

Non religious and/or government paid officials would have no such problem (and they will likely refuse to do a religious ceremony)

All seems pretty reasonable to me. There is no reason to ban religious people from running services nor for prohibiting them from doing so.

Although frankly I still don't get marriage for non religious reasons. I'd rather see everything go the way of the Canadian "common law" status (live together for XXX time and you are equivalent to married in rights and responsibilities, grats!)

Scottish gay marriage? But who'll wear the pants? :O Oh wait, nobody wears pants at a Scottish wedding anyway! XD /silly

Excellent!
I'm English but spent a few years living in Scotland and still have family up there.
My parents got married in Scotland a few years ago in a non-religious ceremony so there's no reason not to be able to get married the same way if you are gay.

But, ew, you like wedding cake?
It always has royal icing on it, and that's horrible.
Butter icing is the best icing.

Blablahb:
It's a good thing.

But from what I understand, there seems to be some sort of connection between the churches and marriage in Scotland and priests can actually perform marriages?

If so, why not change that while at it? Get rid of the entire discussion about those poor priests not being 'forced' to set aside their hatred for other people to perform a ceremony. It would also prevent a very dangerous precedent in equality laws. Because if priests can legally discriminate, then why not others?

Difference; it's quite possible and indeed not hard at all for a couple to become legally bound through a secular authority as well as the other clergy who have no issue with doing a religious wedding.

It's good to see the government moving forward with this, it has looked likely for a while now. I doubt England and Wales will be far behind, and when same-sex marriage is introduced in Scotland and the world fails to end it will only strengthen the case for it in the rest of the UK.

evilneko:
Scottish gay marriage? But who'll wear the pants? :O Oh wait, nobody wears pants at a Scottish wedding anyway! XD /silly

I thought the women wore the pants in Scottish families?

As if disgruntled Lib Dems voters in Scotland needed another reason to stare lovingly at the SNP. On another note, why is this a religious issue? I remember a fellow who, when he couldn't divorce his wife so he could screw another woman, changed the country's religion. Why not follow in that man's footsteps and change religion again if the clergy are against it? Why is England and Wales behind Scotland on this issue? Mr Cameron rambled on about compassionate Conservatism as well as being pro-family and Mr Clegg is the leader of an allegedly progressive party, why is gay marriage not legalised?!

... The coalition make me so terribly vexed...

I'm glad that Britain doesn't have governments which listen to the minority of idiots in their electorate (Even if they are idiots themselves).

I think it would be better for all of us if we just moved the main British parliament up to Holyrood.

The Catholic Church:
"We strongly suspect that time will show the Church to have been completely correct in explaining that same-sex sexual relationships are detrimental to any love expressed within profound friendships."

Wait, what the fuck does this mean? Is the Catholic Church insinuating that, if gay marriage is made legal, a couple of best friends will start feeling bad about not jumping in bed together? Because that's what I'm getting from this quote. Seriously, how the fuck does gay sex devalue friendship?

OT: Good on Scotland.

GunsmithKitten:
Difference; it's quite possible and indeed not hard at all for a couple to become legally bound through a secular authority as well as the other clergy who have no issue with doing a religious wedding.

It remains a problem that you're de facto legalising discrimination, and setting a very dangerous legal precedent.

While it makes no sense to have priests performing marriages in the first place. Priests are not representatives of the state, why would they be allowed to formally recognise relationships as an agent of the state?

Blablahb:
It remains a problem that you're de facto legalising discrimination, and setting a very dangerous legal precedent.

While it makes no sense to have priests performing marriages in the first place. Priests are not representatives of the state, why would they be allowed to formally recognise relationships as an agent of the state?

It's no more discriminatory than a catholic priest refusing to marry a protestant couple. The churches are simply allowed to say 'sorry your views don't match our religious teachings. Yes it's effectively allowing certain churches to say "we don't agree with gay marriage" but it's not introducing any new precedent.

Priests still have to get a marriage licence to perform legal marriages, without it you're just performing a bit of theatre that means nothing so it's not a case of get a clerical collar, perform marriage. Ordinary people can be given the licence to marry couples if they want, priests don't get any special privilege.

Well good, it's about time this issue picked up some speed given there is literally no valid reason to be against gay marriage. I'm just disappointed it's taken the UK this long to get to this issue, I really am.

I think it's a good time for celebratory Irn Bru.

The other great thing is that it looks like the UK as a whole will have to recognize marriages performed in Scotland. It's actually a clever move from the perspective of Scotland's tourist industry, because it pretty much guarantees a regular influx of tourists from the rest of the UK until such a time as gay marriage is legalized nationwide.

And lol at the Torygraph trying to report that 2/3rds of respondents to the consultation are against gay marriage in Scotland. Too bad a whole bunch of those people didn't even live in Scotland and most of those that did were postcards from the Catholic Parlimentary Office with a pre-printed message.

ReservoirAngel:
Well good, it's about time this issue picked up some speed given there is literally no valid reason to be against gay marriage. I'm just disappointed it's taken the UK this long to get to this issue, I really am.

No need to be disappointed. Maybe it's hard not to be disappointed when you're living there, but from an outsider's perspective the UK is doing very, very well. Instead of being one of the handful of global pioneers back last decade the government chose to go with civil partnerships instead, and while that's disappointing, UK civil partnerships are pretty much the single best civil union system in the entire world. The governments of the UK have since committed to introducing marriage equality within a couple of years, which will still put the UK miles ahead in terms of gay rights than most of Europe, the United States, Australia and most other Commonwealth countries, not even mentioning the developing world.

As an Australian born to a British parent I am seriously considering applying for a UK passport (assuming I qualify) because of how slow, to the point of literally going backwards (like I mentioned before, having my civil partnership downgraded), the gay equality movement is going here. I look longingly at the UK, wishing that Australia was that good. I'm the opposite of disappointed in the UK.

Oh Snap

Looks like the SNP is trying to increase its declining fanbase with a fad policy....
Politics.
Go Scotland!

Fraser Greenfield:
Oh Snap

Looks like the SNP is trying to increase its declining fanbase with a fad policy....
Politics.
Go Scotland!

A fad policy? Granting human rights to homosexuals?

Yes, clearly that's just a silly bandwagon and nothing at all to concern yourself with...

ten.to.ten:

ReservoirAngel:
Well good, it's about time this issue picked up some speed given there is literally no valid reason to be against gay marriage. I'm just disappointed it's taken the UK this long to get to this issue, I really am.

No need to be disappointed. Maybe it's hard not to be disappointed when you're living there, but from an outsider's perspective the UK is doing very, very well. Instead of being one of the handful of global pioneers back last decade the government chose to go with civil partnerships instead, and while that's disappointing, UK civil partnerships are pretty much the single best civil union system in the entire world.

This makes me curious. What are the differences between civil union and marriages, other than the name?

Elcarsh:

Fraser Greenfield:
Oh Snap

Looks like the SNP is trying to increase its declining fanbase with a fad policy....
Politics.
Go Scotland!

A fad policy? Granting human rights to homosexuals?

Yes, clearly that's just a silly bandwagon and nothing at all to concern yourself with...

I would have thought a country in which all the men wear skirts would have always been open to gay marriage. ;)

Godavari:

The Catholic Church:
"We strongly suspect that time will show the Church to have been completely correct in explaining that same-sex sexual relationships are detrimental to any love expressed within profound friendships."

Wait, what the fuck does this mean? Is the Catholic Church insinuating that, if gay marriage is made legal, a couple of best friends will start feeling bad about not jumping in bed together? Because that's what I'm getting from this quote. Seriously, how the fuck does gay sex devalue friendship?

OT: Good on Scotland.

Oh my god, I know why the Catholics are so scared now. This is a catastrophe....they created the gay friend zone!!!! *dramatically falling into a pit* NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Wolverine18:

ten.to.ten:

ReservoirAngel:
Well good, it's about time this issue picked up some speed given there is literally no valid reason to be against gay marriage. I'm just disappointed it's taken the UK this long to get to this issue, I really am.

No need to be disappointed. Maybe it's hard not to be disappointed when you're living there, but from an outsider's perspective the UK is doing very, very well. Instead of being one of the handful of global pioneers back last decade the government chose to go with civil partnerships instead, and while that's disappointing, UK civil partnerships are pretty much the single best civil union system in the entire world.

This makes me curious. What are the differences between civil union and marriages, other than the name?

1.Joint parental rights of children
2.Joint adoption
3.Status as "next-of-kin" for hospital visits and medical decisions
4.Right to make a decision about the disposal of loved ones remains
5.Immigration and residency for partners from other countries
6.Crime victims recovery benefits
7.Domestic violence protection orders
8.Judicial protections and immunity
9.Automatic inheritance in the absence of a will
10.Public safety officers death benefits
11.Spousal veterans benefits
12.Social Security
13.Medicare benefits
14.Joint filing of tax returns
15.Wrongful death benefits for surviving partner and children
16.Bereavement or sick leave to care for partner or children
17.Child support
18.Joint Insurance Plans
19.Tax credits including: Child tax credit, Hope and lifetime learning credits
20.Deferred Compensation for pension and IRAs
21.Estate and gift tax benefits
22.Welfare and public assistance
23.Joint housing for elderly
24.Credit protection
25.Medical care for survivors and dependents of certain veterans

All of these are present in legal marriage, but not civil unions.

Oh bloody hell, now even the Scots are displaying more good sense than my own country.

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