We are delighted that the Scottish Government has launched the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill. The Bill intends to extend the legal form of marriage to same-sex couples and to remove practices that negatively impact on transgendered individuals in Scotland. A copy of the Bill can be found here and the consultation period extends until the 20 March 2013. Our consultation response can be downloaded here.
The strength of feeling and volume of responses to the first consultation on Equal Marriage in 2011 showed just how important this issue is to the people of Scotland. It is as important now as it was then for the people to talk directly to their politicians.
All four of the major Scottish political parties have publicly declared their support for equal marriage; however recent deeply offensive comments comparing marriage equality with slavery, child abuse, polygamy and bestiality clearly show that we still face significant opposition. We are therefore urging all supporters of equal marriage to get involved in our campaign. Please act now!
Stonewall fought long and hard for the introduction of civil partnerships in 2005. Sadly, as recently as 2010 Lord Tebbit stated: ‘We should be utterly, completely and absolutely clear that a civil partnership is not a marriage, cannot be a marriage, never will be a marriage and should be treated entirely separately from marriage.’
By insisting that marriage and civil partnerships must be kept separate and distinct opponents of equality still perpetuate the offensive notion, even if inadvertently, that relationships between people of the same sex are not as stable, rich or valid as those between mixed-sex couples. It is clear that these views impact negatively on public attitudes towards gay people themselves.
We therefore want to see marriage available to same-sex couples on the same basis as mixed-sex marriage, with no mandate on religious organisations to celebrate it.
The decision about whether to extend marriage to same-sex couples now lies in the hands of our politicians, so it is vital that they know how strong the support for this is across Scotland. Since December 2011 we have been pushing to raise awareness of the campaign, encouraging people to get in touch directly with their MSP and voice their support. A hundred thousand postcards have been distributed across Scotland to encourage MSPs to support equal marriage. Order yours by emailing email@example.com.
Stonewall Scotland is also part of a coalition of supportive groups who organised a march on parliament on Valentine’s Day in 2012. We presented the First Minister with a Valentine’s Day Card which read "Roses are white, thistles are blue, we believe in equal marriage and we hope the Scottish Government will too.”