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Marriage Equality Coming to Scotland, Ministers Announce

After a massive response to a consultation on the issue, political leaders in Scotland have announced the framework for legislation that will legalize same-sex marriage there and say they will build in religious protections, the BBC reports:

ScotlandScottish ministers confirmed they would bring forward a bill on the issue. Political leaders, equality groups welcomed the move, but it has been strongly opposed by the Catholic Church and Church of Scotland...

...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 ensure those views were protected, and a bill would be brought forward to the Scottish Parliament to bring in the change.

Said Scotland's deputy first minister, Nicola Sturgeon: "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. We are also mindful of the fact that the leaders of all of the other parties represented in parliament support same sex marriage and that there is significant parliamentary support for legislation. 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.

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  1. Scotland, France and England on track. Soon "The Land of the Free" will be the only western democracy that denies it's citizens equality. Maybe these are some of those "Anglo Saxon" values Mitt was talking about.

    Posted by: Michaelandfred | Jul 25, 2012 9:46:33 AM


  2. Michaelandfred, what are you talking about? England is just as behind as America. In fact, they're even more behind because at least America has some states that do have gay marriage. England on the other hand scrapped their plans for gay marriage and aren't going to bother bringing the topic up again until 2015. England sucks.

    Posted by: Please! | Jul 25, 2012 11:24:10 AM


  3. PLEASE! Of the few states that do (will) have gay marriage, several are under attack (Iowa, Washington, Maryland) and a republican administration plans to pass an amendment to eliminate all of them. England has civil unions for the entire country. 25+ US states will never have civil unions...ever (or at least as long as the Bible Belt is in power), and only a ruling where federal same sex marriage or civil union rights were granted would supersede that. Sorry, but England is not as behind on this issue as America.

    Posted by: William | Jul 25, 2012 11:52:09 AM


  4. Wow, Scotland for gay marriage! Ahead of England! Wow! Who would have thought these mountain people are more broad-minded than the stuffed-shirt English!

    Posted by: Manny Espinola | Jul 25, 2012 12:49:03 PM


  5. Manny Espinola,
    Maybe you were being sarcastic (I am sure you were). But it's not surprising to see Scotland institute marriage equality since they're far more liberal than England. By a mile.

    Posted by: wow | Jul 25, 2012 1:26:08 PM


  6. To PLEASE!: The UK has national civil partnerships which, unlike with DOMA, guarantee ALL the rights of marriage, allows you to sponsor your foreign spouse, unlike with DOMA, be recognised as a military widow/er, unlike with DOMA, allows you to jointly file taxes and receive the same tax breaks as married couple, unlike with DOMA. And just today, coincidentally, the PM David Cameron gave an interview with a conservative newspaper vowing to press on with gay marriage and that it would be legal by 2015. They need to have time to draw up a proper law with all the religious exemptions and also, you know, deal with the economy. England is 100% better for LGBT rights in general, including marriage, than the US.

    Posted by: Frederick Shuffrey | Jul 25, 2012 3:19:01 PM


  7. To Manny Espinola: For all who don't know, Scotland is by far the most left-wing part of the UK, to the extent that the Conservative Party there have elected a lesbian leader (imagine that in the US!) and only have one Scottish MP. The main fight in Scotland is between the Scottish National Party and the Labour Party, both of which are socialist.

    Posted by: Frederick Shuffrey | Jul 25, 2012 3:21:44 PM


  8. To Frederick: So what if England has civil unions? It's still not a marriage! Get over it! England is not as far ahead as you like to believe. Meanwhile, look at all the other European countries that have gay marriage: Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, and even conservative Spain. England is so uncool and lagging WAAAY behind.

    And quit comparing everything to the US - we're a much bigger country so we have more anti-gay people to deal with. Compare yourselves to other European countries.

    Posted by: Please! | Jul 25, 2012 4:21:59 PM


  9. Here's a picture of the very cool and modern Scottish parliament building: http://robertarood.files.wordpress.com/2007/09/parliament-public.jpg

    Posted by: David R. | Jul 25, 2012 5:32:20 PM


  10. No one else is disturbed by the fact that it will be 2015??? I mean that is 3 years away for Christ's sake. By that time hopefully we have full nationwide equality too.

    Posted by: Opinionated | Jul 25, 2012 5:36:48 PM


  11. This is WONDERFUL news ! Scotland at last stands up against the powerful and rich religions and gives full recognition to gay people !

    Some day maybe Americans will get the balls to stand up against the power and money of organized religions to demand our own rights. We are so weak, pathetic and afraid of religion so we won't make any progress until we grow a pair !

    Posted by: Icebloo | Jul 25, 2012 5:59:22 PM


  12. I just read the BBC news article about this reported today.

    It doesn't actually say this is going to happen - it said it COULD happen. That still gives religions and the UK Conservative government plenty

    Posted by: Icebloo | Jul 25, 2012 7:37:43 PM


  13. UGH computer issues....

    My comment above was supposed to read...


    I just read the BBC news article about this reported today.

    It doesn't actually say this is going to happen - it said it COULD happen. That still gives religions and the UK Conservative government plenty of time to threaten the SNP and make them backtrack.

    Never underestimate the amount of power and anti gay hatred of religions and the right wing !

    Posted by: Icebloo | Jul 25, 2012 7:40:07 PM


  14. To PLEASE!: "we're a much bigger country so we have more anti-gay people to deal with." I'll let you consider the stupidity of that statement for a while.
    This is not a race. This is not a game. This is dealing with people's lives. Yes, most of the Scandinavian and Low Countries are far more socially progressive than most western nations. They legalised homosexuality, abortion, assisted suicided, drugs, abolished the death penalty and allowed women to vote very early on. Acceptance and liberalism are part of their cultures. But the UK is catching up quickly and much faster than the backward US.

    Posted by: Frederick Shuffrey | Jul 25, 2012 8:27:37 PM


  15. To icebloo: You are aware the Conservative government in Britain is the one pushing for gay marriage. Unlike in America, the right-wing don't have to appeal to Religious Right nut jobs and are far more libertarian. The Conservatives have a lesbian leader in Scotland. The Conservative Party are delighted by this news and they will introduce their own equal marriage law within the next two years.
    It's being done in 2015 because it's not a high priority. There is a limited timetable for legislation which will be packed with economic legislation, the Budget, foreign policy, criminal justice etc. The point is the CONSERVATIVES have vowed to bring forward equal marriage within this Parliament

    Posted by: Frederick Shuffrey | Jul 25, 2012 8:33:28 PM


  16. See what men wearing skirts breeds? All this EQUALITY talk means nothing. Biology is not on the gay side. They can think they are as "equal" as they wish. They can think about that when violence rains down. America is a rough country.

    Posted by: Matt | Jul 25, 2012 11:17:10 PM


  17. @ICEBLOO No, this will happen. This announcement has already been preceded by a massive consultation in which certain religious groups, like the Catholic church, had plenty of say and fought against it happening.

    The majority Scottish government has now confirmed they will bring a bill to the Scottish Parliament in the next year, and a majority of MSPs have already pledged that they will vote yes (http://www.scotsman.com/scotland-on-sunday/politics/majority-of-msps-back-gay-marriage-1-2347427) including the leadership of every Scottish political party in the Parliament, including the Conservatives. So yes it's happening, just a question of exactly when now (looks like 2015).

    Posted by: Robbie | Jul 26, 2012 8:26:11 AM


  18. This legislation is proceeding rather slowly considering there is probably a large majority in favour in both the House of commons and Scottish assembly. The time table could be faster. In the case of the commons the commitment of the Cabinet will be tested if the Lords reject it. The Parliament Act can be used to override the Lords but only if there is more than a year to run before the election. If they are so keen for it to pass before the election more urgency would be good.

    Posted by: Keith | Jul 26, 2012 10:09:30 PM


  19. By the way, Colombia, France, New Zealand and Uruguay will probably beat Scotland.

    As a result of a court decision in 2011, Colombia must pass same-sex marriage legislation before July 2013, or same-sex marriages will automatically become legal under existing legislation.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recognition_of_same-sex_unions_in_Colombia

    The French government has promised marriage equality before next summer, and they have the votes for it.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_France

    Bills are being debated in New Zealand and Uruguay, where the legislatures will be sitting for the next few months. A court decision in June in Uruguay has already recognized same-sex marriages under existing legislation.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_New_Zealand
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_unions_in_Uruguay#Same-sex_marriage

    Posted by: FYoung | Jul 28, 2012 8:07:36 AM


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