We are delighted that the Scottish Government has introduced the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill into the Scottish Parliament. You can view the Bill here. 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. The closing date for written evidence is 23 August 2013. You can submit your views on the Bill here. Oral evidence is due to take place in September. Watch this space for further details! Our previous consultation response to the draft Bill can be downloaded here.
Since 2011, the strength of feeling and volume of responses to the equal marriage consultation shows just how important this issue is to the people of Scotland. It is as important as ever for people to talk directly to their politicians about equal marriage.
All four of the major Scottish political parties have publicly declared their support for equal marriage; however over the last year 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!
You can help by making a donation today. Please help us secure that in future the right to marry the person you love is available to everyone. Make a donation online now or become a Friend of Stonewall today from just £5 per month.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.”