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Scotland: Government decision on marriage expected today

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  1. There is political consensus across all parties and the Scottish people have dynamically said that they support fairness and equality for LGBT people (and others).

    Sure, there have been some grotesque, odious and (at times) demented attacks on equality, fairness and integrity – often from people who claim to know better. These war mongering and hate filled pieces of rhetoric are not of the character of the people of Scotland, are not humane and do not speak for most people in Scotland. Even though some of those insidious and sanctimonious attacks on civil liberties have come from within organisations who claim to have supporters entirely behind them; it is clear that many of the members of each of these organisations do not support the arrogant and damaging comments that their heirarchy have made regarding LGBT people.

    Scottish people will rise above the petty squabbling and war mongering of people who place more importance on stigmatising people who live in love and fidelity than

    1. they do on countering child abuse, dealing with third world hunger, tackling sectarianism or supporting those who are homeless.

      I look forward to hearing the outcome of the Scottish Government cabinet meeting at 2pm in Bute House today.

      Its time Scotland took its stand and demonstrated that Edinburgh is every bit of a world leader on human rights and equality as Copenhagen, New York, Buenos Aires, Madrid or Brussels.

      Good luck, Scotland.

      I hope the rest of the UK follow your lead (when you make the right choice, choosing your side of history).

      Scotland can make its legacy, and it can choose to today.

      I trust it will choose humanity and fairness.

      This is a major chance for Scotland to show its moral leadership and moral compass. Choose fairness and equality. Choose love and fidelity.

      Roll on the meeting at 2pm reaching its clear conclusion.

      1. When you hear the news, post it in these comments for the rest of us.

        1. Certainly will ;-)

        2. Press conference scheduled for 16:00

          1. Crosses fingers, toes and other flexible parts (ouch!)

          2. If they’re having a press conference, then it’s probably good news – I hope!

            No politician would risk going in front of the press to announce bad news as they’d face some very awkward questions.

          3. Apparently decision put off till end of month – reason why unclear.

    2. charles gormley 17 Jul 2012, 12:12pm

      War mongering rhetoric? Have the catholics threatened us with bombs?

      1. “The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland and the most senior Catholic in the UK has declared “war on gay marriage” pledging to spend another £100,000 in its campaign against equal marriage rights for same-sex couples in Scotland.

        Speaking in today’s Sunday Times, Cardinal Keith O’Brien warned the Scottish Government that it will face an “unprecedented backlash” from the Catholic Church in Scotland if it goes ahead with plans to legalise same-sex marriage, claiming “marriage is under threat and politicians need to know the Catholic Church will bear any burden and meet any cost in its defence.””

        I refer you to the Sunday Times report (due to paywall, I include reporting of it rather than the actual article).

        Cardinal O’Brien clearly states he is declaring war. That is war mongering, and demonstrates the idiocy and hatred of his position.

        1. I prefer these words of a more humane, fair and decent religious leader than the ‘grotesque’ Cardinal:

          Kelvin Holdsworth, Episcopal Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow said that ‘many view equal marriage as a human rights issue rather than something that one church should be able to rule out simply because of its own moral code.

          ‘If religious people do not want to conduct such marriages then that should be up to them – after all, no religious celebrant is ever forced to conduct any marriage currently and no religious celebrant will be forced to conduct a same-sex marriage if the law changes.

          ‘The Roman Catholic Cardinal is not the moral arbiter of Scottish society. The decision about equal marriage should properly be taken by those elected to take it.

          ‘The sooner that the Scottish parliament gets a chance to vote for equal marriage the better.’

  2. ” a gross subversion of a universally accepted human right” so said o’brien, obviously implying we are not human. Which planet did you come or I come from, come on Salmond do the right thing, and that is bring forward with haste an acknowledgement that LGBT folks are just as human as every one else and should have Equal Human Rights

  3. Robert in S. Kensington 17 Jul 2012, 12:15pm

    Come on Scotland, show the rest of the UK how to do it! My gut feeling is it will proceed, full speed! Good luck to our fellow brothers and sisters north of the border.

  4. If they go with the referendum idea it would mean another 2 years of media homophobia and massive advertising campaigns against us run by the roman catholic church. It would inevitably stoke up the flames of hate as the adverts would be anti-gay and full of hate speech directed against a minority. Also – it would be likely that Entoand and Wales would have full marriage equality- so leaving Scotland out on a homophobic limb.

    1. GulliverUK 17 Jul 2012, 1:07pm

      Couldn’t agree more.

      But if they do approve it, they’re only agreeing to start the legislative process, and I’m afraid it will certainly mean even more homophobic campaigns and a ramping up of the hate to try to lobby all MSPs and the public to lobby the Scottish parliament. The idea of a referendum is absurd, but if we have one, let’s add the question to limit charitable status to charities and remove them from non-charities, like churches, because that has overwhelming support.

      Whoever gets marriage equality first might have an economic advantage, and you see major businesses in the US stating this – they don’t want to set up in states without equality because they cannot attract same-sex married individuals who might be top in their field, because those people can become “unmarried” when they move to a state without equality, and it’s a big obstacle.

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 17 Jul 2012, 1:34pm

        If there were to be a referendum, which I doubt, the SNP will do so at it’s own peril. Forget about continued LGBT support as well as independence. Tories in Westminster, pay careful attention.

        1. It would be the SNP backtracking – they said they will ensure a fairer more equal Scotland – this is their opportunity to prove it.

          1. I agree, Elaine. The SNP basically support it, even if it’s not official party policy, and the other parties in the Scottish Parliament (except the Tories) support it too, and a majority of the public support it, so the SNP government have no good reason to drop it.

            They could decide to postpone it, however, rather than drop it – which is entirely possible.

            But I think they probably will announce today that they are going ahead with legislation – I hope so, anyway.

  5. Finally. :D. After this long wait we will finally finally find out whats going to happen. Yippee

  6. Tom French of the Equality Network spoke to BBC News earlier today about this topic.

  7. Good luck to all in Scotland. I’m optimistic and hope the report is positive.

  8. The Scottish National Party came to power promising to consider the issue as part of its agenda to create a more “equal” society.

    The Scottish Government ought to stand firm, stick by their principles and make the right decision. They should say “I do” to equal marriage and stick by their stated aims of achieving a more equal and fair Scotland.

  9. That There Other David 17 Jul 2012, 2:27pm

    Sat glued to #equalmarriage on Twitter at the moment. Can’t see me doing much work until at least 5pm :-)

    1. David, I suspect you won’t be the only one. :)

    2. Apparently the decision has been delayed till end of the month – cowards!

  10. Good Luck, Scotland. We are hoping that you will lead the way to equal rights in the United Kingdom.

  11. Great letter this morning in The Scotsman:

    “I’d like to thank Martin Conroy for his letter (11 July), in which he correctly pointed out the good works the Catholic Church is involved in. This further shows how out of touch Cardinal O’Brien is, not only with society at large, but also with the institution that he claims to lead.

    While many Catholics involve themselves in helping others, the Cardinal gives the impression of being someone obsessed with the private lives of consenting adults, not to mention the fact that most Catholics, like the rest of society (more than 64 per cent, according to an Ipsos-Mori poll) favour the rights of loving same-sex couples to get married.

    In a time of limited resources what does Mr Conroy think will happen when the Catholic Church decides to “meet any cost” in opposing marriage equality as Cardinal O’Brien states it will.

    It is clear that this means the very

    1. worthwhile causes he outlined in his letter are now at risk. I’m sure Mr Conroy, and many other sensible people of faith, would think that the Cardinal has his priorities all wrong.

      In his letter, Mr Conroy goes on to state that “it is not an anti-gay rights position, but a pro-marriage one”.

      Putting aside the Orwellian double-speak that says preventing people from getting married is actually pro-marriage, I take issue with his assertion that the Church’s position is not an anti-gay one.

      When the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland says same-sex relationships are “demonstrably harmful” and compares marriage equality to slavery, it is clear that his position is not the positive one that he claims.

      Mr Conroy and many other Catholics in Scotland can be rightly proud of the role that they often play in society. It’s just a shame that their leadership doesn’t show the same Christian compassion.

      Ross Chmiel

      Jameson Place


      1. That There Other David 17 Jul 2012, 3:05pm

        That’s the same problem the world over. The Vatican is massively out of touch with the people it claims to speak for. You only have to look at what’s happening in the major Catholic nations to see that support for LGBT rights is there, yet Ratzinger and co. still cling to the lie that their views represent those of a billion followers.

        The Vatican and its mouthpieces such as O’Brien speak for nobody but themselves.

        1. You are right, but I don’t understand why all these Catholics still practice. While they do, the Church won’t change it’s views.

  12. Cardinal Capone 17 Jul 2012, 3:07pm

    The Scottish catholic spokesman I just saw interviewed on the BBC, along with A Scottish Stonewall spokesmen, did their side of the argument no favours at all. He harangued, interrupted and bullied the Stonewall guy in a totally unacceptable way, and reminded me of a certain Northern Irish Protestant bully from the 1970s. Hopefully people saw him for the intolerant and aggressive person that he seemed.

    1. GulliverUK 17 Jul 2012, 3:37pm

      That story popped up recently, and my heart did sink a little, but I noticed that the timestamp at the top said; 17 July 2012 07:45 BST

      So it may be the article is from this morning, but occasionally they get re-inserted in to the RSS and other feeds.

      1. I see what you mean about the time. It doesn’t make sense as the article talks about the cabinet meeting having already taken place. Hopefully STV news were just trying to be prepared well in advance and posted it by mistake or something. Unless they have someone on the inside and know something we don’t!

        1. I guess STV news were given a heads-up after all if they knew this at 7:45am this morning – which suggests the SG had no intention of announcing anything today, whatever happened at their Cabinet meeting. It all feels a bit sleazy.

    2. I really hope this report has jumped the gun and got it wrong. I’ll be very disappointed if the SG don’t announce today that they’re going ahead with legislation.

      1. I hear there is a further delay – feeling very let down by the Scottish Government.

  13. GulliverUK 17 Jul 2012, 3:50pm

    ha. just saw this on a tweet

    that’s about right. hurry up Scotland I’m almost out of fingernails :(

    1. I’m very, very disappointed. Why have the SG not made their decision and when will they make it?

    2. Devastating let down by the SG

      This is the FIFTH delay.

      They said that they believe in a more fair and equal Scotland, yet bizarrely they find this decision difficult.

      They said they support LGBT people – and yet they find this decision difficult.

      This is not the actions of a party or government who honestly believe in equality or support LGBT people.

      This is a complete farce and sham. Its disgusting.

      1. I’ve said all along that if they support it then they should have said they intended to legislate right from the start. This whole needing to consider all views before making up their minds is offensive. All it’s done is make the issue more difficult than it would have been because it gave the bigots hope that they could stop it happening.

        1. GulliverUK 17 Jul 2012, 4:41pm

          It’s done something else very important – it’s identified the chief anti-gay enemy as The Roman Catholic Church, and made people hate them.

  14. GulliverUK 17 Jul 2012, 4:14pm

    Any delay in the decision on equal marriage will have economic consequences for Scotland as people put their ‘big day’ plans on hold, with all the associated spending.

    Who is going to get a Civil Partnership now when marriage may be just around the corner. Some will probably go for CPs anyway, but I bet a lot will now want to wait and see.

    update; right, that’s it. No decision today.

  15. This is the FIFTH delay by the SNP and is total cowardice.

    Where is their commitment to a fair and equal Scotland?

    1. It does fit with their usual poor record on gay equality.

      Despite my criticism of the SNP’s committment to gay equality over the last couple of years, I was actually really hopeful about this in the end. I’m bitterly disappointed.

  16. While this is a huge disappointment this should also be used as a call to arms. We need to get on Facebook, Twitter, and anywhere else and make our voices heard more than ever than Equal Marriage is the right thing to do.

    Because we can be damn sure that’s what our opponents are going to be doing.

  17. Perhaps the SNP have buckled under pressure from the Catholic Church – they’ve done it at least twice before since coming into government in 2007, and Cardinal O’Bigot has been throwing his weight around recently.

    1. Cardinal Capone 17 Jul 2012, 4:43pm

      If that is the case, and Rome is really able to pull such strings, it makes one wonder how truly independent an independent Scotland would be.

      1. The SNP wanted Catholic adoption agencies exempt from equality law and when Westminster refused (as it was reserved legislation), the SNP advised St. Margaret’s in Glasgow how to exploit a loophole. St. Margaret’s is now to this day the only adoption agency in Britain which can legally refuse service to gay people.

        And in 2008, the SNP gave in to Catholic Church demands to remove any mention of condoms in safe sex leaflets to be given to school girls with their cervical cancer vaccination. Except the SNP applied the Catholic church approved leaflets to all schools in Scotland, not just Catholic schools. So every school girl is being subjected to Catholic dogma, whether she’s Catholic or not.

  18. None of us should be surprised at this. The SNP have shown time and time again that gay equality is not a priority for them, and they ignore homophobia by their MSPs etc.

    I let myself believe they’d go ahead with equal marriage despite my better judgement and I’ve been let down by the SNP once again.

  19. Cardinal Capone 17 Jul 2012, 4:39pm

    There’s a full report in the Scottish Catholic Observor:

    1. This story was from 13 July – 4 days ago – and it clearly says the decision wouldn’t be announced today. Why were there so many other news reports saying the decison was expected today?

      And why can’t the SG just make up their mind? They can say they will legislate but need more time to get it right, but they’re saying they need more time to make the decision. If they support it then there’s no decision to make.

      1. The SG themselves raised the media and public expectation of an announcement today – they have only themselves to blame for the backlash

        1. So the SG is happy to let a Catholic newspaper know it’s plans yet doesn’t tell the public! That says it all really.

  20. This is an incredible disappointment and huge let down of LGBT people by the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government have deliberately raised expectations of an announcement today and then fail to deliver. Its reprehensible. Very poor management of public and media expectation by Scottish Government and they deserve all the criticism they face for it. Completely unnecessary screw-up over equalmarriage from the Scottish Govt. Succour to the bigots & a slap in the face to strung-along campaigners

    This is the FIFTH occasion that the SNP have delayed and stalled over equal marriage.

    This is weak government.

    I wonder if Nicola Sturgeon can tell us how long do LGBT citizens in Scotland have to wait for equality? Nicola Sturgeon has been a huge led down along with the rest of the SNP Cabinet.

    An overall majority, a broad Parliamentary consensus on equalmarriage, a prior delay and yet the SNP Cabinet still can’t decide! It can only be seen as indecisive and weak leadership –

    1. – one has to wonder if the government have succumbed to pressure from bigots and if there is an element of corruption in the weakness and failures of Sturgeon and the SNP government. Looks like the Scottish government has been held to ransom by a cardinal with deep pockets, which is a gross affront to democracy or “an equal and fair Scotland”.

      These repeated delays make Scotland appear the laughing stock of those nations that claim they support equality and LGBT people.

      People of all political parties & none, many of whom I disagree with regularly, united in denouncing SNP decision to delay equal marriage decision – it stinks of grotesque subversion to theocrats.

      Is it really so complicated? Equality vs Discrimination. What is the hold up? They chickened out – cowardly, yellow livered Sturgeon and Salmond don’t have the moral fibre to stand by the “fair and equal” Scotland they claim to seek.

      I’m ashamed for the indecisiveness of the Scottish Cabinet on equal marriage. Which is

    2. it? Fear, political expedience or just incompetence?

      Shame on the Scottish Government. I am still not an equal to my brothers and sisters today because they did not make a decision.

      The SNP government will have a legacy of being indecisive over whether equality matters or not.

      Does anyone know what the difference is between today and 2 weeks time?

      Today’s equal marriage debarcle was just an embarrassment to Scotland – of the Scottish governments own making.

      1. Nicola Sturgeon shouldn’t even be handling this. Roseanna Cunningham should be doing it as marriage law falls under her remit as Legal Affairs Minister. Apparently she refused to do it and Sturgeon was given the job instead. Cunningham doesn’t even carry out her own responsibilities and Salmond lets her keep her job! He should never have made her a minister in the first place due to her well known homophobic views and actions.

    3. Cardinal Capone 17 Jul 2012, 4:49pm

      According to the Catholic newspaper I posted above, the expectations we were led to have were all just propaganda from our side to put pressure on the first minister! Where do they get them! They’re getting as bad as the notorious NOM in America. Maybe it’s not a coincidence.

      1. GulliverUK 17 Jul 2012, 5:00pm

        Why. It was the Scottish government who said they were “minded”to allow gay people to marry, and many signed up to the pledge, including all those MSPs. I don’t think gay rights organisations are to blame when so many MSPs and government officials said they were in favour and intended to move forward with it.

        If you look here;
        you can chose Labour or the LibDems and support them in future. Dump the SNP if they’re going to drag their feet any further.

        A mass cutting up and returning of SNP membership cards (if people have them) would be good, or a mass email to Alex Salmond. What about a petition? That’s easy for everyone to get involved in.

    4. GulliverUK 17 Jul 2012, 4:53pm

      It’s simple. Cancel your SNP membership and let them know you will be voting Labour (or whomever else) next time. Punish them for leading people on, because it looks to me like they were courting votes and now had no real intention or will towards full equality.

      Let them see in the next set of polls that there are consequences to inaction.

      1. The trouble is that SNP members & supporters are extremely loyal and make excuses for them no matter what. I used to be an SNP supporter until they took Souter’s money in 2007. You’d be surprised at the number of gay SNP supporters who defended that and all their other homophobia.

      2. I wont do that until i see if the they will go ahead with the bill. Saddend by the Scottish Government as i strongly support the SNP in all there other policies. But on the issue of Gay marriage i think there handling of the issue to be very poor.!!! there intentions were good for a start but i wish theyd grow a backbone and do the right thing and say yes. Then i will have 200% support for the party.

        1. I was once as loyal an SNP supporter as you are now, Charlie. I was truly shocked when they took Souter’s money in 2007, and that one action alone was enough for me to stop supporting them after doing so for 10 years since I was 18 – in fact, I’d supported them for 2 or 3 years before I was old enough to vote.

  21. I wonder what the gay MSPs & MEP in the SNP think of this? Will they publicly condemn the SG for yet another delay? Probably not since they were quite happy for the SG to mull over whether they deserve equality or not.

    1. It sounds to me there worried that the religious community try to boycott the referendum. ( wish they’d just say yes pass the legislation and ignore the religious opposition. )

      1. GulliverUK 17 Jul 2012, 5:07pm

        There is a rumour that one of the cabinet members threatened to resign. If I had been Alex Salmond and someone said that I would have said “accepted.” without pausing for breath. :D

        1. Who was it? Salmond should have accepted it without hesitation! Surely they’re just going to threaten to resign the next time it’s discussed?

          I now doubt if the SG will go ahead with it at all.

          It will still happen, most likely with a Member’s Bill, or even a Sewell Motion perhaps if it comes to that. But we will definitely have equal marriage in Scotland whether the SG do it or not.

          1. GulliverUK 17 Jul 2012, 5:33pm

            Don’t know. Suggested names…


            “Alex Neil, Mike Russell, Richard Lochhead, Bruce Crawford: Cab Secs who have not said yes to ‪#equalmarriage‬ – who threatened to resign?”

          2. I would have expected it to be Roseanna Cunningham, Fergus Ewing, Michael Matheson or Brian Adam. All known to have voted for discriminatory legislation or spoken out against gay equality in the past. If the names you mention are in the frame then the homophobes in the Scottish cabinet are more numerous than I thought. Very worrying!

      2. Charlie, I think you’re right about the about SNP being worried about the independence referendum being boycotted or people voting No if they go ahead with equal marriage.

        But I think they’re overestimating the amount of people who would boycott it or vote No if they go ahead with equal marriage. I don’t think there are enough of such people to affect the outcome of the independence referendum. I just wish the SNP would realise this too!

  22. All these delays are giving me a terrible headache :(. If there for the legislation they need to say. And be scared of all religious opposition.

    1. “NOT” be scared sorry another one of my typos.

      1. I don’t understand why they can’t say they’ll definately legislate but need more time to sort it out or whatever. That wouldn’t be so bad because at least we’d know they were going to do it. But they haven’t even said that! As it is, who knows whether it will happen or not.

  23. Appariently some are blaiming the press for not getting information right. Supposedly the decision was supposed to be announced at the end of July anyway. And the press said it was today when it wasnt. (not sure how true this is.? :(

    1. It is a SG decision so it is the SG’s responsibility to manage media and public expectation. If they are aware that the view being expressed by the media is wrong or inaccurate – it is the SG’s DUTY to correct this by media release, statements and putting out ministers/officials to dampen expectation.

      They did not do this.

      It is not the media’s fault that the SG allowed them to raise expectation.

      More so, when a press conference was scheduled for 16:00

  24. Perhaps the SNP never had any intention of legislating. They only promised a consultation in their manifesto, nothing more. They never expected to win an outright majority last year so could have intended to kick it into the long grass, saying they wouldn’t get it through or something. Remember, Kenny MacAskill answered a question by George Foulkes in the Scottish Parliament just 3 or 4 weeks before last year’s election saying that the SG had no plans to introduce same sex marriage. It could have been an empty election pledge to get the “gay vote.”

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