Scottish council opposes gay marriage opt-outs for registrars

Registrars should not be able to refuse to marry same-sex couples, the Highland Council has said.

The council had responded to consultation on the draft Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill, which proposes the introduction of same-sex marriage and the religious registration of civil partnerships.

The Highland Council said it would be inappropriate for registrars to be able to refuse to marry couples because of religious or other personal beliefs.

A spokesperson said:

“The law is clear that when someone is providing a public service, they cannot, because of their religion or belief, discriminate unlawfully against customers or service users.”

They added:

“Registrars are employed to deliver a public function and may be required to solemnise same-sex marriages.”

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill currently allows religious bodies to opt out of conducting same-sex marriages if they so choose. The bill also supports civil ceremonies taking place anywhere (other than religious establishments) and the establishment of ‘belief ceremonies’, such as humanist weddings, in Scotland.

The Highland Council is an administrative body for much of the Scottish Highlands.


Photo by Archie McPhee under a Creative Commons licence 

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