The government in Scotland, UK, has confirmed it will introduce a bill to allow same-sex marriage within the month. A special consultation on a ‘Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill’ came to an end in March this year, however its findings have yet to be made public.
Scottish ministers have promised to change the law to allow same-sex couples the right to marry whilst also writing in protections for religious groups that do not want to carry out such ceremonies. Both the Church of Scotland and Roman Catholic Church are against the plans, as is expected.
The government advise the bill would also allow civil ceremonies to take place at a location other than a registrar’s office and once a legislative proposal had been lodged at parliament it will undergo rigorous scrutiny before committee members and in the chamber. There have also been talks going on behind the scenes have been taking place with the UK Government as ministers at Holyrood House, the home of the Scottish political chamber, believe an amendment is needed to UK equalities legislation to protect individual celebrants who may not want to conduct same-sex ceremonies even if their church, as an organisation, backs them. Health secretary Mr Neil said “substantial progress” had been made on the issue in discussions with UK Culture Secretary Maria Miller.
Mr Neil said: “We have given a commitment to introduce this legislation after the extensive consultation we have had as quickly as possible, which is what we’re doing. I would hope the timetabling would be such that we could see this bill become law sooner rather than later.”