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Activists call for gay marriage progress after SNP win

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  1. I’ve not looked at all of the results, but it seems that the SNP have gone from 1 openly gay MSP, to at least three.

    Although the Liberal Democrats have lost a gay man and a lesbian, the Tories have now got a Lesbian.

    And Patrick is still there.

  2. I wouldnt hold your breath about gay marriage. Remember his biggest donor is Brian Soutar of Section 28 fame. He’l want his ounce of flesh now hes helped them to win!

    1. de Villiers 6 May 2011, 8:48pm

      He might prefer his pound of flesh.

      1. I suspect it will be a ‘free vote’ in Parliament should they introduce a Bill and no doubt Souter and others will campaign against it. Most SNP MSP’s voted to abolish Section 28 despite Souter’s campaign.

        1. Jock S. Trap 9 May 2011, 6:07pm

          Yep, I think your right there WTF!

      2. Dan Filson 7 May 2011, 5:34pm

        He might prefer his pound of flesh – possibly but those with memories of Shakespeare will remember what Portia said – not one drop more or less or …

        1. de Villiers 8 May 2011, 10:43pm

          Not one drop more – let’s hope so for gay people in Scotland.

    2. @David

      He may have financial support from some of the most bigotted rich people in Scotland, but if you look at the work of the SNP in the last four years of Scottish coalition it is clear that they have sought to improve equality for all including LGBT communities and I believe that there will be a movement towards same sex marriage equality

  3. Think the SNP have bigger and better things to worry about now, rather on concentrating om gay marriage.
    Time will tell if they do support gay marriage, but right now they have better things to do….like get the country back to a kinda normality

    1. So, what you’re saying is, Scottish people are too stupid to walk and chew gum at the same time?

      I’m pretty sure that they can work on promoting civil equality for all of its citizens while at the same time working on, OTHER important (NOT “more” important) issues.

      It’s people like you who are the problem. There will always be other important issues; ALWAYS! If you wait for the perfect time to promote equality it will never happen. Just ask other oppressed minorities if they got their rights by waiting until their opponents felt it was the right time, or there were no other “more important” things to consider. To a person they will tell you “NO”, we had to MAKE the time.

      Equality will never come to us, or anyone else, if we wait for a time when there are no other problems to consider.

  4. The real test, as with LibDems in Westminster, is whether they do it in lifetime of the parliament rather than just talk nicely about it.

    1. Tim Hopkins 7 May 2011, 6:05pm

      Time will tell, obviously. Having just come back from Pride Scotia which was today, I can tell you that Marco Biagi, the newly elected openly gay SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central – the constituency where the Pride march assembled – spoke to the crowds and pledged his support for getting equal marriage legislation before the Parliament and passed.
      As have, at the two previous Pride Scotias, individual Green, Labour, LibDem and SNP MSPs.

  5. Make that 69 seats, not 65.
    Alex Salmond says he is personally in favour of equalising marriage and the party has pledged a consultation process (whatever that means).

  6. I thought there had been petition on marriage equality and a subsequent consultation on that?If so what would this new consultation be all about? Free votes and consultation process ,,,sounds painfully similar to all those other countries which end up doing nothing…The consulation process for Eng/Wales on marriage equality start July, heavens knows what that involves?

    1. Tim Hopkins 7 May 2011, 10:53am

      There was a petition on equal marriage (two in fact) submitted to the Scottish Parliament Public Petitions Committee in 2009. In 2010 the Committee called on the (SNP) Scottish Govt to establish a consulation on the issue, but they refused.

      As others have said, the SNP manifesto this time round promises a consultation, so that is what we expect to happen.

      In the Scottish Parliament, it is pretty much unheard of for there to be signifcant legislation without a public consultation first.

    2. Hear, hear.
      Equality under the law should not be subject to free votes or consultations. It’s sort of part and parcel of liberal democracy, or so you would think.

      1. As lynee Featherstone said on the 5th May when asked by Stephen Gilbert on the issue of marriage equality…

        “Yes, I agree that “equal rights” means “equal rights”, not “similar rights” or “nearly but not quite as good” rights. Having listened to stakeholders, it is clear that there is a genuine desire among many of them to move forward to equality between marriage and civil partnerships. Over the summer we shall start a discussion with all those with an interest in the matter on how legislation can develop”

        YES – she has it completely right but I want to know when we will get ME by the lib dems…where’s the timetable for it!!!!

  7. In these austere times it would be a very smart economic move for the Scots – I can see that glbt couples from all over England, Wales, Ireland and many other countries flocking to get married in Scotland. It would be great for the Scottish wedding industry as well as hotels etc.

    1. Tim Hopkins 7 May 2011, 5:36pm

      Quite right. As it is, almost one quarter of mixed-sex weddings in Scotland are between tourists (that is a couple neither of whom lives in Scotland).

      Some wedding provider companies have already contacted the Scottish Govt to point out that if Scotland introduced equal marriage, there would also be same-sex wedding tourism. Especially if Scotland did it before England and Wales.

  8. I am very interested to see how this progresses. I’m not entirely convinced though that the SNP will be the ones to do it though. They now have an outright majority so I’m presuming they can force through the legislation if it is really important to them.

    I realise that Section 28 was quite some time ago but I remember only-too-well the sheer viciousness of the keep the clause campaign and those disgusting billboards. So, I am therefore very hesitant to support or trust a party that would take money from Souter.

    I would like to give the SNP the benefit of the doubt. Does anyone have anymore info? For example – WTF – you have said that most SNP MSPs at the time voted for the repeal. Do you have numbers? Also, for those who voted to keep the clause, are they still in the SNP and how senior are they in the party.

    Have any of them admitted they were wrong on the subject in the same way Theresa May did?

    1. concerned resident of E3 7 May 2011, 1:40pm

      only 17 MSPs voted against the repeal of clause 28. They were all Tories. One Tory and one independent abstained. All Labour, LibDem, SNP and Green MSPs voted to repeal.

  9. Also, I remember after the keep the clause ‘referendum’, Nicola Sturgeon being interviewed and she said that the Scottish people had spoken and therefore had to be listened to. It seemed like a political move to gain votes from Labour whilst sacrificing LGBT rights. I remember also that the SNP were wanting to try and include in children’s education the importance of male-female marriage. Did this ever happen? I freely admit my memory of this is vague so I could be mistaken. Any info would be gratefully received.

    1. Tim Hopkins 7 May 2011, 5:55pm

      Actually it was a Tory MSP, Brian Monteith, who submitted the amendment to try to establish the “primacy of marriage” rule in teaching. The amendment was defeated by 100 votes to 17. All SNP, Labour, Green, and SSP votes, plus most LibDem votes, were against. The 17 votes in favour were all the Tories, plus one LibDem.

  10. I find it rather offencive that any government would seek a consultation on something so basic as the right to marry the one we love in a civil ceremony. Why should it matter to the rest of society, how does it effect their marriages directly? It doesn’t stop them from marrying nor does it do any harm unless they’re right wing religious nutters who are the minority in all this. Has there been any negative impact in the 10 countries that allow it? I don’t think so. Consultation is unnecessary and why should civil rights be left to the opinion of the public as the determining factor to say who can and who cannot marry? Has there been a consultation on banning divorce I wonder? Of course not. That would be too uncomfortable and politically inexpedient for Cameron and his supporters. Can’t upset the voters now can we? Whether a consultation would yield a negative reponse, the government should still enact a law to allow us to marry regardless. Its the right thing to do.

    1. Consultation is never unnecessary, it’s a foundation of our democracy.

      Besides, what DO folk want? Both for both? One system? How do you deal with the religious aspects of current marriage?

      If any Government WANTED to ban divorce, then yes, there would be a consultation..

      1. As long as the consultation doesn’t end up being simply a coffee and chit chat in the cafe next door to govt…or worst ends up being simply a consultation without a timetable like the UK one seems to be !!!!

        Can’t they start with a private bill (based along the lines of the lib dem policy ) and then have parliament discuss this? After all there has been 2 petitions, presumably a lot of discussion has already taken place and you’ve got to start from a starting point and it’s up to parliament to make tweeks to it!

        1. Tim Hopkins 8 May 2011, 3:33am

          A Member’s Bill (Scottish name for Private Member’s Bill) is a possible way forward. But under the rules of the Scottish Parliament, any proposal for a Member’s Bill must first have a compulsory public consultation on the policy, before any Bill can be introduced in the Parliament. So either way – Member’s Bill consultation or Gov consultation, there has to be a public consultation next.

      2. de Villiers 8 May 2011, 10:49pm

        It’s important for such measures to attract support from a cross section of parties and groups so as to have sufficient legitimacy from the political establishment and the media.

        The Human Rights Act had no such support and so is still attacked by many sides.

        1. The big difference though is that we already have marriage in all but name already we are not starting from scratch….we are talking about a change in the name only , the rights and obligations given to SS CPs have already been sorted out and they are more or less the same as marriaed couples. The consultation process should take that into account, we are not like other countries eg Australia where gay marriage will also mean a new set of costs, what rights to give to gay couples etc….jumping from PACS to marriage is not the same as jumping from a British CP to a marriage…the only arguments are from the religious right and homophobes and you will never get their support!!!!

          1. de Villiers 9 May 2011, 5:57pm

            > the only arguments are from the religious right and homophobes

            I’m not sure that is correct. There are others to persuade.

          2. de villiers – if we were ever given the list of stakeholders who had an interest in marriage equality then I’d be able to agree or disagree with you but at the moment we just have a vague notion as to who the stakeholders are!!!

  11. I remember only too well when there was debate on getting rid of Section 2a, as Section 28 was called up here. I was one of those asked to give a written opinion (God knows why or who gave them my name). The SNP were the last ones to agree to its abolition – and then it was like pulling teeth. They wanted to keep it, remember.

    Consultations are just a way of appearing to be doing something, when all you are doing nothing. It’s just a way to shove it into the shadows, where hopefully it will disappear and die of neglect. It’s called attrition of interest.

    There is nothing to consult on.

    What Salmomd should realise is that some of his fellow countrymen (and women) have fewer rights than foreigners visiting the country.

    If he was to give full marriage equality it would only be to use it as another crowbar of difference between Scotland and Westminster, and definitely not because it is the human thing to do.

  12. Under the British Nationality Act of 1981, a person born overseas to a British parent must claim citizenship for his or her child before its 18th birthday. His mother failed to do it, so he’s American and doesn’t identify as British either. Case closed.

    1. Dan Filson 7 May 2011, 5:36pm

      @Robert – are you writing about President Obama by any chance (born of a Kenyan at a time this was a British colony), and if so why? Are you on the right thread?

  13. Dan Filson 7 May 2011, 5:32pm

    Is marriage law within the areas delegated to the Scottish Assembly? I would not have thought so.

    1. Tim Hopkins 7 May 2011, 5:44pm

      Yes family and marriage law are devolved to the Scottish Parliament, as is civil partnership law (they are also devolved in Northern Ireland). Scots marriage and civil partnership law is significant different from English law in some areas – examples: 16 and 17 year olds don’t need parental permission to marry/CP, and divorce is quicker.

      However, some of the effects of marriage are reserved to Westminster, for example inheritance tax rules, immigration rules and pensions regulation.

      The Scottish Parliament can introduce same-sex marriage. Amendments would need to be done by the UK Govt to the Civil Partnership Act, to recognise Scottish same-sex marriage for tax, immigration etc purposes – these are relatively simple amendments that don’t require a bill – can be done by statutory instrument. It remains to be seen whether the UK Govt would cooperate in that way – one would hope that, given the LibDems’ and Cameron’s stated support for equal marriage, they would.

  14. Dan, no I am not. This young man doesn’t identiy himself as British although his mother thinks he should be entitled to protection under British law. His mother should have made sure he applied for a British passport before he was 18, but he didn’t. Our citizenship classification is quite complicated if you look at the different sets of rules for those born overseas to British nationals. Either way, I don’t think our government should get involved in this one.

  15. Gregor, there is no religious component in civil marriage, not even in the ceremony at a registrar’s office. Religious and civil marriage are different and there is no mention of procreation in a civil ceremony. Religious denominations would not be bound to recognise let alone perform same-sex marriages either. None of the ten countries that allow us to marry mandate religious recognition. There are straight couples who would rather have a civil partnership and a lot of gay people who want a civil marriage. Both should be an option to either orientation. Nobody is suggesting that civil partnerships should be abandoned, on the contrary. My personal choice is marriage since its the universal gold standard. Civil partnerships will never reach that level of recognition anywhere in the world but should be kept for those who desire them for either orientation.

    1. “Either civil law is defined by the needs and rights of citizens and gay marriage will be legalized, or civil laws will be placed under the dominion of religious laws and gay marriage will remain banned.
      Opponents of gay marriage try to offer legal and social reasons for their position, it is easy to provide a list of the usual objections and when examined closely none of them hold water… it almost always comes back to religion and religion-based animosity towards gays.
      There are no secular grounds for denying gay marriage.”

      1. de Villiers 9 May 2011, 5:59pm

        > There are no secular grounds for denying gay marriage.

        I am not sure that is correct. France is a secular Republic. All marriages in France are civil marriages conducted by the Mayor or their deputies. As yet, France has not enacted gay marriage.

        1. What are there grounds for not doing so?

          1. What are “their” grounds… scusi.

        2. Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité provided you are not Homosexuels or Lesbiennes
          France has an official bumper sticker slogan since France’s Constitutional Council, the nation’s highest court for constitutional issues ruled that the definition of marriage as between one man and woman is constitutional, So grounds for denying marriage equality = a slogan.
          This needs to be challenged in the European Court of Human Rights, I’d like to hear their defence, is anyone from France taking similar action to the Equal Love campaign?

          1. Liberté, égalité, fraternité,
            I lost some of the Liberté and égalité… just about sums it up really.

        3. de Villiers 10 May 2011, 12:05pm

          What this shows is that the view often expressed on this board that secularity guarantees gay marriage is not correct.

  16. One piece of the SNP record on LGBT rights which is less good is that they crafted a legal loophole to avoid the Scottish Catholic adoption agencies closing, in contrast to those in the rest of the UK. I hope that this can now be rectified.

    1. Tim Hopkins 9 May 2011, 1:23pm

      There is only one Catholic adoption agency in Scotland (there used to be two, but the other one decided to comply with the anti-discrimination law and ceased its connection with the Catholic Church).
      In 2008/9, the Scottish Govt advised the one remaining agency that if they changed their charitable objects (the formal rules saying what they exist to do), they could legally continue to discriminate.
      That was almost certainly incorrect advice. Every time there is a ruling in England over the Leeds Catholic Care case, it becomes clearer that the Scottish agency is breaking the law in continuing to discriminate.

  17. Jock S. Trap 9 May 2011, 6:05pm

    Here’s hoping he helps lead the way with regards marriage Equality.

    1. Gay and Marriage can’t even go in the same sentence. Gay and Lesbian people already have civil partnerships in this country. A marriage has religious connotations that can only be given through the church and rests on theology, not on what we think is our right. Marriage is bound on Biblical principals, civil partnerships aren’t….

      1. sorry, I hijacked your comment, I had scrolled down the page and couldn’t see the comment box…My comment wasn’t aimed at you in particular.

      2. How about civil marriage equality Mookie, we don’t really want or need something special called gay marriage just the right to marry and to call ourselves married as straight couples already can when they have civil marriages..

        While on the separate subject of holy matrimony or church marriages, no marriage without love can ever be called holy.

      3. Jock S. Trap 15 May 2011, 1:53pm

        But we are still human beings just like you Mookie.
        We’re no different and should not be treated so.
        There is so much hate in this world usually as a direct result of religion.
        For two people in love and wanting to celebrate that love all should have the Choice of full marriage.
        It’s time to stop treating people unequal and celebrating commitment, love and happiness.
        Just as there should be Equal Marriage there should be Equal Civil Partnerships.
        The LGBT community have been around since the dawn of time, unlike religion therefore how people are born should always take preference over any chosen religion and any chosen religious bigotry and lifestyle.

      4. Jock S. Trap 15 May 2011, 1:54pm

        However I will agree with you in a different aspect,
        Gay and Marriage can’t go together in the same sentence.
        The term Should be Equal marriage.

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