Scottish parliament says no to gay marriage law amendments

Scottish FlagA number of proposed amendments to the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill have been rejected by the Parliaments’ Equal Opportunities Committee.

The rejected amendments, put forward by opponents of the bill, included a demand that registrars and public sector workers have the right to refuse to help with same sex weddings. Another, according to a report in Pink News, would have specified that views on same sex marriage could not be taken into consideration when assessing potential adoptive parents and foster carers.

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Alex Neil explained:

“It is already the case that views on same-sex marriage cannot disqualify anyone from becoming a foster carer or an adoptive parent.”

Meanwhile, the Committee accepted two amendments put forward by charity the Equality Network – one will allow couples in civil partnerships formed in other countries to convert these into marriages in Scotland. The other will allow religious organisations to use gender neutral language in wedding ceremonies.

Tom French is Policy Coordinator for the Equality Network. He said: “Scotland’s equal marriage bill will provide a fair balance of rights and freedoms for all. We are very pleased that the Scottish Parliament today made the right choice to reject unnecessary amendments that would have reintroduced discrimination and rolled back equality for LGBT people.”

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill was created to “make provision for the marriage of persons of the same sex; to make further provision as to the persons who may solemnise marriage and as to marriage procedure and the places at which civil marriages may be solemnised; to make provision for the registration of civil partnerships by celebrants of religious or belief bodies; to make provision about gender change by married persons and civil partners.”

The Committee will again consider the bill on January 16 before MSPs vote on the final draft.

Photo by flickrtickr2009 via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons  licence

Marilyn Stowe

The senior partner at Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers with clients throughout the country, in Europe, the Far East and the USA.

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1 comment

Andrew - December 22, 2013 at 5:48pm

I’m in favour of SSM, but I would allow existing registrars to say No (and obviously take more of the traditional weddings instead) – which was done, informally, for c.p. everywhere except Islington.

It makes sense – a couple getting married ought to be assured that the registrar, however polite and professional, does not think that they are going to roast in hell.

Comparisons with interracial marriage or remarriage after divorce will not wash. The first was never unlawful and the second has been lawful since 1857 – before the great-grandparents of today’s registrars were born or thought of.

Let’s hope that the Scottish Parliament shows some sense or at least that the Scottish councils do.

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