Over a thousand marchers took to the streets of Edinburgh on Saturday marching for gay marriage equality, walking as part of Pride Scotia.
Marchers walked the Royal Mile, passing the Scottish Parliament and Holyrood Palace; the Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh.
The Equality Network, a charity campaigning for equal marriage in Scotland, collected signatures for its equal marriage petition, and encouraged supporters to write to their MSPs to urge a change in the law.
Tom French, Policy Coordinator for the Equality Network, said: “Today hundreds of people from across Scotland marched in Edinburgh to demand equal marriage and full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We want to send a clear message to the Scottish Government; LGBT people deserve equal rights and will settle for nothing less.
“Polls have consistently shown that two thirds of Scots support equal marriage for same-sex couples, and an 8-to-1 majority of MSPs have said publicly that they will vote for it when a bill is introduced. We call on the Scottish Government to listen to the public, join with progressive governments around the world, and bring forward legislation without delay.”
MSPs from across the political parties spoke at the rally outside Edinburgh City Chambers, including Marco Biagi MSP (SNP), Sarah Boyack MSP (Scottish Labour), Jo Swinson MP (Scottish Liberal Democrats) and Patrick Harvie MSP (Co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party).
The politicians were united in their strong demands for the Scottish Government to introduce equal marriage legislation.
Speaking at the rally Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-Convenor of the Scottish Green Party said: “Time after time, public support for equal marriage has been shown to be strong in Scotland. Those who want the law to keep treating same-sex couples as second class citizens are in the wrong, and in the minority. It’s time now to press ahead with this overdue change in the law.”
Marco Biagi MSP, SNP, said: “After months of public debate it is now clear that equal marriage has the support of a majority of the public. There have been impassioned discussions across letters pages, phone-ins, and online, but now the vision of an inclusive, accepting and understanding Scotland has won out. That is a Scotland where all faiths are free to decide for themselves their understanding of marriage and what it requires. This is the kind of Scotland that can be a beacon to the world. The hotly anticipated bill on equal marriage is worthy of speedy introduction and will undoubtedly now receive widespread backing from both public and Parliament.”
The march was welcomed by local MSP Jim Eadie, who last week submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament to mark the tenth anniversary of Pride Scotia and to voice support for the equal marriage campaign.
The public consultation on same-sex marriage closed in December with over 50,000 responses. The Scottish Government is due to publish the results and announce its decision on Tuesday 10th July.
Earlier this month the Equality Network announced that a majority of MSPs had signed its Equal Marriage Pledge, committing themselves to voting in favour of same-sex marriage. 74 MSPs have now said they will vote in favour, whilst just nine remain opposed.
Opinion polls have shown consistent public support for same-sex marriage in Scotland.
The most recent poll was conducted in early June by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the Equality Network. It showed record support with 64% of Scots in favour of a change in the law, and just 26% opposed. Separate polls conducted over the past two years by Populus,YouGov, Angus Reid, and the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, have all shown similar levels of support.
The Equality Network said it will work with MSPs to secure a Members Bill if the Scottish Government decides against proposing equal marriage legislation.