Scotland may become the first part of the UK to introduce same-sex marriage legislation. Although legislation is scheduled to be introduced in 2013, the first gay marriages wouldn’t occur until the start of 2015.
Scottish 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 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.”
According to BBC News, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland disagreed. “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,” the source said.
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.
Director of Stonewall Scotland, Colin Macfarlane, shared, “Thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Scots and their families will be delighted with [this] announcement. So will the majority of Scots who want our nation to be a beacon of respect and fairness. In recent months Scotland has been subject to a vitriolic campaign by some people who want to impose their 19th century values on a 21st century nation. These proposals will send a clear signal that there’s no place for such bigotry in modern Scotland.”
Macfarlane added, “We now urge the Scottish and UK Governments to work together to ensure that any amendment to the Equality Act is dealt with quickly and won’t delay the introduction of the Bill to the Scottish Parliament.”