Enter your email address to receive our daily LGBT news roundup

You're free to unsubscribe at any time.

Updated: Scottish government fails to reach equal marriage decision

Post your comment

Comments on this article are now closed.

Reader comments

  1. Cowards. What happened? A little last minute horse-trading? A few well place phone calls telling the uppity Scots to behave themselves or else there will be trouble?

    1. I think they are afraid that a celibate man in a frock and a pointy hat will put a curse on them.

    2. Robert in S. Kensington 17 Jul 2012, 5:22pm

      Yep, looks like they caved in to O’Brien.

      1. For what, the third time now, since they got into government?

        1. Robert in S. Kensington 17 Jul 2012, 6:12pm

          Seems that way doesn’t it?

          1. First it was the SNP siding with Catholic adoption agencies (one of which is still operating to this day) over equality law, then the SNP supplying Catholic approved safe sex information in ALL Scottish school, not just Catholic ones, and now this. We shouldn’t be surprised.

    3. Valksy – if you’re suggesting interference from Westminster, then I couldn’t disagree with you more. They coalition government are more committed to equal marriage than the Scottish Government are – the coalition actually went further than the SG ever have by saying they intend to legislate, while the SG still have to decide whether to even legislate or not. Also, Salmond would not listen to Cameron whatsoever about anything.

      1. Yes. But it is all in the timing. If Westminster will do it, it will be on their terms. There’s no way that they would want to be reactive on the matter in response to a move in Scotland.

        It’s not so much about Cameron’s pro/con as to when it would be most politically expedient (often when they have something else they want the media to not notice because they’re too busy focused on us).

        Cynic? Perhaps. Trust? None.

        1. You mean Cameron doesn’t want to be seen to be following Scotland – he’d rather take the lead? Perhaps you’re right, but I personally don’t think he cares enough about it to want to be the first to do it. If anything, I’d have said Salmond would have been the one to do it first just to get one over on Cameron!

          I do think when one government does it, the other will be under enormous pressure to follow, and it would be immpossible for it to be dropped on one side of the border if the legislation had begun on the other. I did think Scotland would be first, but who knows now.

  2. 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.

  3. I am from Edinburgh and to say I am shocked is an understatement. And I can tell you what has happened. They don’t want to jeopardise their up coming referendum Scotland’s Independence from the rest of the UK. I voted three times for SNP. No chance I’ll vote for them again. And no chance I would ever vote for separation from the rest of the UK either, given that I feel we are now being ruled by Rome. I am absolutely disgusted with Salmond. He’s the one to blame for this . All he needs now is a mitre on his crown.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 17 Jul 2012, 5:25pm

      I strongly urge all Scottish gays to NOT vote for independence as a protest against the cowardly SNP’s dismal failure today. Let them know you will no longer support them or their agenda. I can only imagine what their pathetic excuse will be for not reaching a simple decision. Make your voices heard, tell them, NO MORE SUPPORT from gay voters. They’ve betrayed you.

      1. SNP supporters are intensely loyal and even gay supporters and members of the SNP will defend this and make excuses.

    2. Mike – I used to vote for the SNP religiously until 2007 when they accepted half a million quid from Souter. I felt I could no longer vote for a party that’s happy to accept money from a homophobe like him.

      Remember, they dropped their long-standing bus re-regulation policy immediately after he donated the money in 2007 – despite the party membership voting to retain the policy just a few months earlier.

      If Salmond can betray his own membership for a bit of cash and pressure by Souter, then gay people have no chance with the pressure Salmond is under from the Catholic Church to drop it.

      1. You supported the SNP, “religiously” – glad you saw the light!!!

  4. Garry Cassell 17 Jul 2012, 5:12pm

    Allowing the catholic church to win again…and continue their brutal assault on young boys..

  5. Robert in S. Kensington 17 Jul 2012, 5:20pm

    This doesn’t bode well for Westminster either. O’Brien will rejoice, so too will C4M/CI as well as all those Tory backbencher bigots. Not a good day for Scotland or the UK.

    It’s time for Scottish gays to put the SNP on notice, NO MORE SUPPORT. Salmond has caved in to O’Brien’s threats. Chalk another one up to religious bigotry. Disgusting!

    1. I see no reason to believe that Scotlands failure to reach a decision will mean that Westminster will say no.

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 17 Jul 2012, 5:52pm

        Who know?. We’ve had delay after delay with the consultation in England, nothing will surprise me if Westminster doesn’t reach a decision. either. The decision in Scotland today will embolden the bigots south of the border. Dragging this out is only helping them become more vocal.

        1. We havent had the delays that the Scots have had (and continue to have).

          If reports above are to be believed then the Cardinal has been slapped down by the SG who have said a referendum will not be happening – I feel slightly reassured, but still let down by SG, if this is true. It puts the Cardinal back in his box and tells him civil government will not be beholden to his autocratic approaches – democracy will not be dampened by his manipulations. However, the weakness of the SG in being unable to reach a decision is risible.

          1. Robert in S. Kensington 17 Jul 2012, 6:19pm

            Well, our consultation was delayed and rescheduled wasn’t it? It was supposed to be in December 2011, instead it was March 2012. Good to hear that the SNP allegedly has turned down a referendum though. Civil rights matters should neve be a matter of conscience which is why I don’t like a free vote which can often lead to defeat when “conscience” plays a role. It allows for bigotry to trample on the rights of others. Knowing that a free vote would have enough votes to make passage successful is an entirely different matter and one I could support, but I just don’t see it south of the border unless more Tories than those in opposition evolve. Until that happens, I’m inclined to support Nick Clegg for a whipped vote in spite of Cameron’s statement.

          2. You’re right in everything you say, Robert. But the situation in Scotland isn’t any better. Salmond is giving his MSPs, including Cabinet Minister’s a free vote as he considers it an issue of conscience, and we had delay after delay too.

            But crucially, the coalition government stated right from the start that they intend to legislate while the SG never made any such commitment.

            Look at the quote from the SG today:

            “This is an important issue and it is right that Cabinet takes the time to get both the principle and the detail of the decision right.”

            The SG aren’t just delaying over the detail of legislation, they’re still deciding on the principle of equal marriage itself. It’s disgusting!

          3. The slippage you talk about in Westminster is nothing compared to the 5 delays in Scotland, Robert.

            I strongly believe Westminster will introduce legislation for equal marriage.

            I suspect Scotland will – although their manner of making decisions on equality matters is not inspiring confidence in their belief in equality.

          4. I agree, Stu, that both Westminster and Holyrood will legislate for equal marriage , and within the next 2-3 years.

            Whether it comes from the respective governments, or by other means such as a Member’s Bill remains to be seen.

            But it will definitely happen throughout the UK (NI too, perhaps a few years behind the rest of the UK).

          5. “democracy will not be dampened by his manipulations” LOL!!

            Cardinal O’Brien was calling for a referendum – you cannot get anything more democratic than a referendum! It was pro-gay marriage people who didn’t want a referendum – why?

          6. John

            First, you don’t put the civil rights of a minority up to a vote of the majority.

            Secondly, a public referendum is by no means an expression of popular opinion. Those who peddle that spin are feeding you a heap of misleading bland nonsense.

            Human rights should not be subjected to a popular vote via a referendum. Human rights should not be held hostage by a majority.

            One of the primary functions of government should be to protect the natural rights of a minority from the oppression of a majority.

            Legislating a restriction on the state’s ability to recognize a same sex relationship doesn’t do a damn thing to support families in reality. A law doesn’t make people stop being gay. It just oppresses them; it stops them from obtaining all of the rights to which heterosexuals have access.

          7. John

            I couldnt say it better than this from another user on another thread:

            Rights in a democracy do not work in the way that the Cardinal has suggested – not that it is for the Cardinal to become involved in political issues.

            That at which one looks is not just the numbers of people claiming the right but the weight of those demands and in comparison with the fairness and the rights of others.

            There may be a large number of people who are opposed to gay marriage but:

            i. It might properly be said that they have no right that gay people not be able to marry;

            ii.There could be no such right as it involves interfering with the lives of others rather than claiming a right over one’s own behaviour;

            iii. If there were such a right, its weight would not be great as the effect upon each individual holding it is less than the benefit of the right of marriage upon a person who is gay and to those seeking gay marriage as a form of ending discrimination and promoting a tolerant society

          8. 2

            The referendum shows no proper weight to the right as opposed to mere numbers.

        2. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’m surprised by the view that equal marriage was a done deal in Scotland almost as soon as the consultation was launched. The SG have never made a firm committment to legislate like the coalition government did, and we’ve had delay after delay in Scotland. To be honest, I’m not surprised by this latest delay, gven the SNP’s past record on gay equality, although I’m extremely disappointed.

          1. BennieM, I agree with your sentiments entirely. It would have been much better had the Scottish Government simply laid out their cards in support of same-sex marriage from the outset. Unfortunately they chose the ‘cautious’ route of consultation which the Tory/LD coalition also did. It would not necessarily be fair just to highlight the SNP on that respect. In fact the Labour/LD coalition in Scotland couldn’t even bring themselves to legislate for Civil Partnerships, they passed it to Westminster. The current SNP Government could equally have taken that route. It has to be seen as a positive that they haven’t, albeit your arguments are still valid re past indiscretions. It is still possible, in fact likely, that the SG will announce their plans to introduce same-sex marriage, ahead of the UK Government, this month (eons ahead of the likely announcement by Westminster).

          2. I agree with much of what you say, Alan. However, the SG could have announced their intent to legislate right at the start and still had a consultation – that’s what the coalition government did. The SNP however, said they’d wait to hear all views before making up their mind, a mistake in my view. So the coalition did go one step further than the SG.

            Also, I agree with you about the Lab/Lib coalition in Scotland in 2005(?). I criticised them on a PN thread last week attached to a story about Jack McConnell giving his support to equal marriage. You should check out what I said to see that I do criticise other parties just as much as I do the SNP!

            http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/07/05/scotland-former-first-minister-backs-marriage-for-gay-couples/

          3. And after all the news and rumours that have come out since 4pm today, I do agree that the SG are intending to legislate and this new delay is just about getting it right from a legal standpoint.

            But I still think they should have announced their intent to legislate as soon as possible and I hope they will do so soon.

  6. bobbleobble 17 Jul 2012, 5:26pm

    Seems that Scottish social policy is to be run from the Vatican. Hope Scots are taking notice.

    1. Which is why that unless the SNP announces a timeline for the introduction of marriage equality, no LGBT person should support Scottish independence.

      A party in thrall to the paedophile-enablers of the catholic cult simply cannot be trusted.

      1. You’ve got it exactly right, dAVID. It’s the fact the SG still haven’t decided whether to legislate or not which really gets to me. They say they support it, yet need to ponder all views, including those of bigots, before deciding IF they should do it – not how, not when, but IF!

        It’s offensive to all gay people that the SG still need to make up their minds IF we should get rights. That shouldn’t even be up for debate!

  7. Actually, the Scottish Government didn’t raise expectations of an announcement today, the media did. As someone who is involved in the pro same sex marriage camp in Scotland we didn’t really expect any announcement today. The Scottish Cabinet met in order to discuss the outcome of the consultation process on same sex marriage. The meeting was originally scheduled take place on the 20th July but that meeting was cancelled and brought forward to today. At no time did the Government state that a decision or announcement would be made today. It is, however, important that we keep the pressure on the Scottish Government to stick to their promise of a decision by the end of the month.

    1. The Scottish Government have announced that they have rejected Cardinal O’Briens call for a referendum. Some good news at least although not as good as announcing a decision certainly.

      1. Where have you seen the rejection of the referendum, Alan?

        If that is the case, then this is very good news and perhaps suggests that the manipulation by the Cardinal is not occurring.

        However, I do not think it is reasonable to say that the SG did not raise expectations of a result today. Most media outlets and many LGBT and equality groups have been stating that there would be an announcement today. A press conference was scheduled for 16:00. The SG would have been aware of the expectations (unless they are inept) and they did nothing to dampen expectations. They only have themselves to blame for the reaction of a hurt community.

        1. Hi Stu

          The link to that particular announcement is here:

          http://news.stv.tv/scotland/111299-government-confirms-there-will-be-no-referendum-on-same-sex-marriage/

          Like you, I am disappointed that no decision was made today. I think many people expected it. However I think to say that the SG were ‘responsible’ for raising expectations of a possible announcement is just not borne by any facts. They did not say, at any time, that an announcement would be made today. The only facts that we had were that same sex marriage and the consultation were on today’s cabinet agenda. That’s all.

          1. Thanks for the link, I found it in the interim and had already posted it below ;-)

            One would hope that governments would be media savvy.

            Announcing that cabinet were meeting to discuss a long awaited issue today and also stating that a press conference would be held at 16:00 allowed some to form the view that a decision would be announced. Some might suggest, that view was deliberately allowed to be formed.

            However, even if they did not intend that opinion to be formed (let alone encourage it), they should have been aware if they are media savvy of a) the fact that opinion had been formed and b) the reaction that would occur if no decision was announced.

            Being aware that there would be a backlash and severe disappointment of LGBT people – the SG has failed to discourage the view that was perculating and has not issued any statement to counter the expectation that had been raised (whether deliberate or coincidental).

            If they knew no decision would be announced or might not be

          2. announced, then it is incumbant on the SG to try and dampen expectation by releasing statements or officials/ministers for interview to explain the intentions BEFORE the cabinet meeting.

            The SG have FAILED to manage media and public expectation in a matter of which they are the lead organisation. It is their responsibility.

            It is either a lack of media competency – in that they did not read the level of expectation (which was clearly visible to anyone montioring the media/internet) or a deliberate ploy that has astoundingly backfired on them.

          3. Yes Stu,

            I agree with your points regarding the SG’s lack of media ‘savvy’ regarding today. In fact it has been a PR disaster for them.

            Hopefully the decision will be sooner rather than later.

          4. One TV news report (either STV’s Scotland Today or BBC’s Reporting Scotland) said that the SG have been surprised at the amount of media interest over the last few days!

            In recent days, we’ve had a Catholic Cardinal declaring war on equal marriage, the pro-equality side defending equal marriage as loud as they can, and the SG have been caught off guard?!

            Don’t they watch the news on telly or read the bloody papers!

          5. Totally, appalling excuse! I just hope it make stem realise a decision is required and they must make it now!

  8. The SNP are scumbags – how DARE they claim that our civil rights are a matter of conscience.

    And the fact that they even held a public consultation on our civil rights shows how awful they are.

    Has there EVER been a public consultation on a minority’s civil rights in Scotland before.

    Have they given an exact timeline as to when they will announce their final decision.

    Until they announce their clear intention to legislate for marriage equality then clearly the SNP should be treated with utter disdain and contempt.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 17 Jul 2012, 5:56pm

      I agree. If a decision doesn’t come at the end of the month in favour of moving forward, then no support for independence or the SNP either. Simple as that.

      1. at least they recognised that a referendum on LGBT rights is inappropriate. Im guessing the consultation was purely to get ideas of reasons WHY so they can justify it to the bigots in the wider public.

  9. I imagine Souter doesn’t give the SNP money for nothing.

  10. GulliverUK 17 Jul 2012, 5:43pm

    If it’s can’t be done in a respectful, polite way, I guess it will require direct action. A large scale march, everybody writing to their MP, protests outside every CoE and Catholic Church, every Sunday, possibly even action within the church, like the Act-Up sit-ins of the 70s.

    But for now, the Scottish government need a bit more time (end of this month), and the UK government will need six months or more before they are ready to discuss how they go forward.

    Perhaps if there is direct action in Scotland, if they haven’t announced, by the end of this month, that they are going forward, then it will send a signal elsewhere.

    ps. I really hate suggesting that, but at some point it will have to be considered. It is always an option.

    1. I hope the measured and respectful way that LGBT people have handled this matter will be acknowledged by the SG, in contrast to the grotesque and manipulative approach of the RC church.

      If however it proves necessary, direct action is a route that may have to be considered.

      1. lol, I like your optimism Stu, but the only thing politicians and religious freaks understand is playing dirty. It is beyond time that we fought back as hard as they are fighting against us.

  11. Pavlos Prince of Greece 17 Jul 2012, 5:43pm

    Well, undecided in favor of catholic church – now it have even more time, until end of July, until end of August, and so… But we, LGBT community, having this same time. The ‘war’ is just beginning and inevitable. Final decision – too.

  12. One piece of good news in this:

    http://news.stv.tv/scotland/111299-government-confirms-there-will-be-no-referendum-on-same-sex-marriage/

    ” … cabinet has concluded that a referendum would not be appropriate …”

    Good to hear the Cardinals grotesque attempts to subvert democracy have been rejected by the SG and that he has been put back in his box.

    However, it is still incredibly weak that the SG can not make a decision of fairness and equality. The said they wanted a “fair and more equal” Scotland in their last Holyrood election campaign – this delay, and indecisiveness does not suggest that their electoral claims are reflected in reality.

    Their handling of this issue does nothing to reassure LGBT people that the SG value LGBT people.

    1. I didn’t take the calls for a referendum seriously and I never thought for a second that the SG would either.

      1. So I don’t consider it to be good news that the SG rejected the idea becuase it was never going to happen.

        I’m frankly surprised the SG even considered it and discussed it enough to announce they were rejecting it.

        Referenda in Britain are very rare and only usually occur on matters of constitutional change.

        So the idea that the SNP have stood up to the church by rejecting a referendum on equal marriage is laughable – it was never going to happen.

        1. The Cardinal thought it was a reasonable expectation to happen, or he was lying (either is a possibility!?!)

          Regardless, his odious plans have been rejected by the SG where the referenda is concerned – and that is a good thing.

          1. If Cardinal O’Bigot thought it was reasonable, then he was deluded or just playing up to the media (i.e. lying, as you suggest!).

            Or perhaps he was thinking of Souter’s “referendum” as a precendent. But then, that was not an official government referendum, it was a wealthy individual who got a copy of the voters roll and the government at the time quite rightly ignored it.

            But I can’t see that the SG deserve credit for rejecting something that was never seriously on the table.

            There is no precedent or tradition in British politics to hold a referendum on any other issue than a constitutional one.

  13. Jock S. Trap 17 Jul 2012, 6:10pm

    Fed up with excuses… just act and equalise Now!!

  14. GulliverUK 17 Jul 2012, 6:12pm

    SYP angry;

    “The Scottish Government consultation on same-sex marriage closed on the 9th of December 2011, the Scottish Government had previously indicated there would be an announcement in March, June and the tenth of July before today’s further delay.”

    http://www.syp.org.uk/blog/2012/07/17/syp-very-disappointed-at-delay-on-equal-marriage/

    There is another aspect, particular for younger people, but which affects most of us, and that is the anxiety that these processes cause, and particularly the long waits and indecision. That’s a well-being and health and safety issue, that the governments (Scottish and UK) should acknowledge. That level of anxiety CANNOT be allowed to continue at this level.

  15. Jock S. Trap 17 Jul 2012, 6:13pm

    lol… why it won’t do you any good!!!

    Least you make us laugh

  16. Perhaps they are just frightened of someone like O’Brien:-) He does have a big pointed hat and a brocade dress after all?

    This is 2012 isn’t it?

    1. And don’t forget his big crozier.

  17. Like all your prior lies about people you have contacted?

    Aiden, which photograph are you using today?

    A child abuse denier sounds about the right level of friend for you though, Aiden.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 17 Jul 2012, 6:21pm

      I’m going to ask PN to block Aiden’s IP address. They’ve done it before.

      1. I will also email them!

        1. Robert in S. Kensington 18 Jul 2012, 12:22pm

          Stu, I just received word from PN that he’s been blocked and told to report him again if he re-surfaces.

          1. Good to hear it, I was pleased to see his comments have been deleted!

            Will keep a look out for him.

  18. Rumours abounding in Holyrood that the SG DID intend announcing that they would introduce marriage today after their cabinet meeting. However, during that meeting an unnamed minister threatened to resign if this happened.

    Why did Salmond not immediately accept the resignation?

    Who was this minister?

    Why are the SG apparently giving in to blackmail from within?

    1. Cardinal Capone 17 Jul 2012, 6:45pm

      Hang on, hang on, I wasn’t expecting the Spanish Inquisition. O’Brien’s war – “Whatever it Takes” …” we have 3 weapons, surprise, and er…” …you can google the rest under Mony Python.

    2. Cardinal Capone 17 Jul 2012, 6:51pm

      Here it is:

    3. Exactly, Stu! And this minister will continue to fight Salmond, so he’s only put off another confrontation with him/her.

      This minister will be bound to threaten to resign the next time it’s discussed, so what will Salmond do then? Accept their resignation or put off the decision once again?

  19. Yes but you are probably a very holy person Aiden. No doubt you contribute to charities as well?

    1. He’s not that holy, Ray123

      He constantly bears false witness!

  20. If they cannot make a decision about Equal marriage after this length of time how on earth are they going to govern an independent Scotland?

    1. Craig Nelson 17 Jul 2012, 7:17pm

      Yes they look a bit silly at they mo.

    2. In a word: “badly”.

    3. If Scotland does become independent, there’s no guarantee the SNP would govern. If independence happens, I understand it would co-incide with the Scottish Parliament elections of 2016 so that a new government will be voted in immediately.

  21. Maybe England and Wales WILL be the first to bring it in?

    1. Cardinal Capone 17 Jul 2012, 7:12pm

      My money is on France.

      1. I think NZ might be next, but France will not be that far away and I hope the various jurisdictions in the UK follow shortly after.

        I also think Chile and Nepal are on the cards soon.

        1. For 2013, I would add Uruguay and Columbia (in addition to France for certain by next summer and maybe England):

          A Columbian court has already ordered recognition of same-sex marriages before July 2013:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recognition_of_same-sex_unions_in_Colombia

          In Uruguay, a bill is now being debated (Foreign marriages are already recognized, and some reports say domestic same-sex marriages are already legal under existing laws.)
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_unions_in_Uruguay#Same-sex_marriage

          I doubt that same-sex marriages will be recognized in 2013 in Chile, Nepal or New Zealand:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Chile
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_Nepal
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_New_Zealand

          1. The reason I go for NZ next is that 2 Kiwi MPs are bringing forward private members bills to introduce equal marriage and the Prime Minister has said he will not oppose and may support them.

  22. BBC Reporting Scotland reported that a sub-cabinet committee has been set up to look at it, consisting of Kenny MacAskill (Justice Minister), Mike Russell (Education Minister) and the Lord Advocate. So it could be that the delay is about ironing out any legal loopholes or problems. That’s what Reporting Scotland seemed to suggest, anyway.

    However, if that is the case, then there’s no reason why the SG can’t announce right now that they are going to legislate at some point, even if they’re not sure when.

    1. Absolutely

      If its a legal loophole or issue that they have percieved (which no one else has anticipated and no other country encountered) then surely it would have been simple to say something along the lines of “The SG have met and considered the issue of same sex couples being able to marry and the responses from the consultation exercise. The SG wishes to bring forward legislation to ensure fairness and equality in marriages within Scotland. The exact timetable to ensure this is not confirmed due to some legal issues that the Lord Advocate and ministers will resolve as quickly as possible. When a proposals can be introduced (hopefully later this year) this will be announced. The SG thank all those who participated in the consultation.”

      There, not difficult and saves all the heartache and distress the SG have caused through their handling of it.

      I still think a resignation was threatened from what I hear, but that could be linked to spurious legal argument that Sturgeon and

      1. Salmond wish to disprove before taking the next step. I think that is weak and over cautious – but we shall see.

        1. I couldn’t have said that better myself, Stu!

          I find it all so frustrating that we don’t know what’s going on!

          Do they intend to legislate or not? Is this delay just down to legal issues or have they still to decide on whether to do it at all? Who knows? The SG have handled it very badly and are only making it worse for themselves.

          Although, the SNP do have a tendency for being secretive in government, so it’s not just on equal marriage that they’re like this, if that makes anyone feel any better!

    2. I read into it likewise. BBC Reporting Scotland suggested possible legal challenges by the Roman Catholic Church on, for example, RC Schools…..whatever that means. For me, it suggested that the SG have decided to proceed with same sex marriage (just an interpretation of the news report) but just need to make sure the legislation is water tight to fend off any potential RC attack. As you say, they could still have announced a decision today regardless of the need to ensure the opponents don’t have any chance of delaying legislation through the courts.

      1. Absolutely, Alan.

        If they had announced that they were definitely going to legislate, then further delay to sort out legal issues wouldn’t be so bad.

        But they haven’t even announced that they are going to legislate, and for me, this is the most frustrating and worrying part of the whole thing!

        1. Yes BennieM, why not just announce their intentions to legislate for same-sex marriage today and then iron out the legalities prior to presenting a Bill before the Parliament. They would have had plenty of time to do that. I hope that all the attention this has had in the media will pressure the SG to announce their decision sooner rather than later. Fingers crossed.

          1. It’s the lack of openness on the part of the Scottish Government that’s causing most of the media frenzy, simply because people are second guessing rather than knowing the truth!

            The SG could easily have avoided it by announcing their intent to legislate, even if they can’t be more specific about the timing or details of a Bill at the moment.

      2. GulliverUK 17 Jul 2012, 7:51pm

        That’s simple – stop religious organisations running schools. They have no business there anyway, all schools should be equal and run by the state.

        There you go, problem solved. :D

        1. Although there is no reason to delay equal marriage by the removing religious organisations from schools (which would be a messy battle – although one I support!)

  23. Whilst not happy with how the SG have handled this, I do like that they have clearly and publically stated that equal marriage is not a constitutional issue and therefore should not be subject to a referendum.

    I am hopeful that when the SG spokesman said:

    “Cabinet has now asked a cabinet sub-committee, led by the deputy first minister, to further examine some particular issues of detail …”

    that they were suggesting (without quite saying it) that they wish to introduce equal marriage and are keen to iron out legal obstacles before final announcements are made.

    As suggested it could be that a minister tried to hijack this by RC or Souter manipulation and throwing in false legal claims, which the Cabinet wishes to be able to categorically show are invalid.

  24. Who wants the right to vote for women? Women
    Who wants equal rights for Blacks? Blacks
    Who wants protection for Judaism? Jews
    Who wants to deny all 3 as well as gay marriage? Bigots

    Of course some moral and humane people want equal rights for women, all races, Jews, LGBT people and all others.

    1. surely the righteous judgment christians claim they are entitled to means they should be in favour of all of the above. I mean the phrase is “righteous” as in “moral”, “humane” … not self serving opressers.

      1. Unfortunately, the important word in your comment is should , James.

        Many Christians are unChristian in their behaviour, as we repeatedly see.

        Don’t they say that Christians shall be known by the fruits of their spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness etc …. See little evidence of that from certain elements of the church on the issue of equal marriage.

  25. According to a report on 5Live:

    “A Scottish government spokesperson said a decision was still expected later this month but the cabinet needed more time to “get both the principle and the detail” right.”

    They would not need to get principle and details right if they did not intend to introduce marriage equality, would they? If they intended to keep the status quo – this would require merely saying “No” and no need to get details and principles correct.

    Maybe I am being too hopeful …

    1. You are probably right, Stu. To be honest, despite all I’ve said today, I do think they probably will decide to legislate in the end. They’re just handling it very badly.

      I accept that they need to get the detail right, but I don’t see why they need to consider the principle of equal marriage. It’s the right thing to do, full stop. No debate is needed on that.

  26. The Scottish Government position:

    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2012/07/ssm17072012

    “The consultation on same sex marriage was discussed today at a meeting of the Cabinet.

    A Scottish Government spokesperson said:

    “The Scottish Cabinet today had the opportunity to discuss same sex marriage in great detail and consider all views represented in the consultation responses. This is an important issue and it is right that Cabinet takes the time to get both the principle and the detail of the decision right.

    “During the discussion, recent calls for a referendum on the subject were carefully considered. However, Cabinet views this as an issue of conscience not constitution. Given that if a Bill is brought forward it should in the view of the Scottish Government be determined by a free vote, Cabinet has concluded that a referendum would not be appropriate.

    “Cabinet has now asked a Cabinet sub-committee, led by the Deputy First Minister, to further examine some

    1. particular issues of detail before a final decision is reached.

      “We remain committed to publishing the consultation responses and our clear decision on the way forward before the end of this month.””

      1. As ever, on-the-ball Stu.

        Like so many, I was disappointed at there being no decision announced today. I do take some comfort from the fact that the real losers today were Cardinal O’Brien and his cronies. Their demands for a referendum have been clearly rejected. Hopefully this is a positive sign that the SG will reject their arguments and announce legislation for same-sex marriage as promised by at the very latest, the end of the month (although hopefully in the next few days). Ever the optimist but today wasn’t all bad.

  27. Whilst the lack of a decision today by the Scottish Government on same sex marriage has left most of us frustrated, on a positive note, BBC and Channel 4 News both ran with the headline that the Scottish Government have decided to reject the Roman Catholic Church’s demands for a referendum on same sex marriage. Clearly a blow to Cardinal O’Brien and the opponents of equality. I hope it is just one of many ‘bloody noses’ they get this month!

    1. On a day of disappointment, it is nice to think that the SG turned to the cardinal and told him to F@kc off.

      Religion has no place trying to subvert parliamentary democracy.

      Marriage is not a constitutional matter – only constitutional matters should be dealt with by way of referendum.

      Civil and human rights and whether these are granted to a minority should not be decided by the majority. That is a clear democratic deficit (but an autocrat like O’Brien would encourage this!).

      O’Brien has been put back in his box. I like it.

      1. I suppose I can see the benefit in Cardinal O’Bigot being put in his place by the SG rejecting his calls for a referendum (despite what I’ve said in earlier comments).

        Even if it was never seriously an option, O’Bigot publicly made out it was, so by publicly rejecting his calls, the SG is embarrassing him and saying that they are the ones running the country, not him.

        1. Absolutely.

          The SG told the Cardinal the diplomatic equivalent of “Say what you crazy freak!?!”

        2. I took it the wrong way at first. I thought the SG had considered holding a referendum on equal marriage and decided against it.

          But I now see that they did no such thing, they simply stated that it wasn’t going to happen as a referendum is only held on a constitutional matter and equal marriage isn’t a constitutional matter.

      2. “Religion has no place trying to subvert parliamentary democracy.” Why> Especially if said organisation is advocating a fairer and more profound form of democracy – one man / woman, one vote on a matter that affects all in society. ‘Gay marriage’ will not just affect gay people. This is something many equality campaigners don’t seem able to accept.

        “Marriage is not a constitutional matter – only constitutional matters should be dealt with by way of referendum”

        LOL – The Scottish Cabinet doesn’t know what it’s talking about if it thinks marriage isn’t a constitutional matter! It is the fundamental building block of society and the family, it is intrinsically linked to over 3,000 laws, and it is a fundamental to the monarchy…

        Oh, and since when did a referendum only apply to ‘constitutional’ matters? Since a bloke in Edinburgh said so this afternoon. A referendum can be held on anything, if governments had any balls.

        1. UK government standing on referenda (which the Scottish govt would be likely to follow) states:

          “they should not be “part and parcel of the everyday business of government””

          “referendums should only be used exceptionally within the UK’s system of Parliamentary democracy”

          “if referendums are used, they should be used in relation to constitutional issues, in particular those of a fundamental nature”

          “referendums should only be held in relation to “fundamental constitutional change” and “the highest issues of constitutional principle”

          “national referendums should be used “only where fundamental change in the constitution of the country is under consideration””

        2. Anyone who is proposing that the majority in a referendum should decide whether a minority are entitled to civil rights or not need to examine their own heart and conscience (if they have one).

          If a politician were to support this they would be promoting a democratic deficit and would be shirking their political responsibilities. It is their duty, as elected politicians, to ensure that this country enjoys laws that place everyone on an equal footing. Their responsibility as taken by oath is to prompt serious, public discussions after which they determine laws which, in reality, reflect social justice for all. If they’re going to run to the people petrified of every hurdle and quandary they face then they might as well scrap elections altogether.

          Minority rights are never for sale and those politicians who “burn” these rights on the altar of populism should all hang their heads in shame!

        3. What a dangerous precedent it would be for the Government to cave in to religious demands of this kind. What would it say about the kind of society Scotland is becoming if a Church – any church – was handed an effective veto over the parliamentary process whenever an issue was raised that didn’t comply with their own absurd doctrines.

          We’ve seen the way such processes are used in the US to promote the agenda of whichever religious groups can spend the most money, and I’d hate to think of Scotland going the same way.

          Same-sex marriage was raised in most party manifestos at the 2011 election, it has broad public support, and it’s entirely reasonable to go ahead with the normal legislative process on this just as we do with any other proposal to change the law. Marriage has changed fundamentally for the better over the years, and is now a relationship between equals instead of a means by which men own and control women. Opening it to same-sex couples on equal terms is a minor change

          1. by comparison.

            The campaign against equal marriage has been misleading and selfish from the word go, and merely represents a continued refusal to accept lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people’s equal status and basic human rights. Let’s remember that the Catholic Church in particular has opposed every step forward, from an equal age of consent to the repeal of Section 2A and the outlawing of discrimination in employment and services.

            However it clearly doesn’t represent mainstream opinion, which has transformed dramatically for the better over recent decades.

        4. Bottom line, John

          Cardinal O’Briens demands for a referendum – for which he has no democratic mandate – has been rejected by the democratically elected government of Scotland. The people elected to make decisions on law and whose responsibility it is to ensure equality and civil rights for all.

        5. ‘Gay marriage’ will not just affect gay people

          Yes, they will – just as interracial marriages or second marriages affect none other than those who take part in them.

    2. Robert in S. Kensington 17 Jul 2012, 8:35pm

      Yes indeed, Alan, a bit encouraging. Catholic clergy in England take note, so too should C4M who were also clamouring for a referendum. It is indeed a clear blow to O’Brien and I wonder if he’ll now think twice before spending that extra £100,000 on a futile exercise to nowhere. If he has that amount to waste, it makes you wonder where it’s all coming from. Perhaps an audit of their financial records would be in order. Find out if any American hate groups are funding them.

  28. Aiden, I’ve actually met Cardinal O’Bigot. I served as an altar boy at a mass he once said on a visit to my church. Oooh, I bet you’re so jealous, aren’t you? You’re dying to know what happened in the sacristy after mass, aren’t you? Well, I’ll leave that to your imagination! The thought of your hero buggering young altar boys, you’ll be cleaning off your laptop for days!

    1. No, dear, what happened to you in the sacristy before the mass?

  29. That There Other David 17 Jul 2012, 9:13pm

    LOL. Is that the new way of putting it? Check out his Grindr profile. I’m sure you’ll both be very happy together :-D

    1. Did you think Aiden’s comment was a bit suggestive too? I’m beginning to think he’s having a laugh with us!

  30. That There Other David 17 Jul 2012, 9:16pm

    The SNP have a lot to learn on managing peoples’ expectations. It would have been better to say at the beginning of this process that they’d announce “over the summer”. Then nobody would care if it happened at the end of July.

    As it is we’re all damn well disappointed and a little bit angry. Not good.

    1. …Or a decision will be announced by the Holy See in due course.

    2. Absolutely.

      I think Salmond (whatever you think of his policies) should consider appointing a new media advisor, This was a fiasco of the highest order.

      How could the SG (and the media advisors of the SG) be so unaware of how many people would be made angry and disappointed by the manner in which they have handled this. They created the belief that an announcement would come today – they should have tempered that belief publically when they realised that was not or might not be practicable.

  31. O’Brien just got a BLOODY NOSE today when the Scottish Government totally rejected his calls for a referendum. O’Brien and your cronies…..Rest In Pieces.

  32. Bad influence from Westminster again. This is not a matter for a referendum or of conscience, as per CallMeDave’s lingo. This is a matter of legislation of equality.

    1. Westminster has no influence over an SNP government in Edinburgh. If Cameron had told the SG to postpone or drop equal marriage, Salmond would immediately announce plans to do it while marching at the head of a Gay Pride march!

      Salmond has always said his MSPs would get a free vote as he sees it as a matter of conscience, even before Cameron said the same thing. So there’s no influence there.

      1. When has Alex Salmond referred to the matter as a conscience issue for the first time?

      2. Here is an example from early 2010 showing CallMeDave already promoting his free voting credentials …

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/mar/24/david-cameron-stumbles-gay-rights

        1. Only a person who failed to understand Scottish politics would try and compare Salmond and his policies to Westminster decisions.

          If anything Salmond seeks to be as distinctive and different to Westminster as he possibly can.

          So failings in Westminster are irrelevant in judging Holyrood progress (or at least Salmond governed Holyrood progress).

          1. To be distinctive does not mean he cannot copy a few bad tricks from Westminster. The truth hurts sometimes, but that is the truth. The bad influence from Westminster is plainly visible for everyone to see.

  33. The SNP tell us that they’re ready to approach Scotland’s future with vision. But does today’s failure to reach a decision on equal marriage show cracks forming in the party even before the independence referendum takes place?

    Scotland is, the SN tell us, ready to become an independent nation. Many would agree. But if that’s so, what sort of nation? What ideals will sit at its heart? Will it look to the past – to its romanticised history, its celebrated rural and architectural heritage, its sometimes delightful but sometimes dubious traditions? Or is it ready to look to the future, to speak out boldly in a changing world?

    For those campaigning for independence, this ought to be a no brainer. Sympathisers in love with the romantic idea of Scotland past are unlikely to vote for it to stay in the union no matter how modern policy develops; the weight of that inheritance is too great a thing to be more than temporarily afflicted by a single disagreeable decision. Those with a progressive

    1. agenda, however, are far more likely to be swing voters, uncertain where their best options lie. The SNP already has a good handle on the traditionalists. It can’t afford to alienate those looking to the future.

      Further to this, a Scotland that looks back into the past is easy for opponents to ridicule. It would be very hard for such a nation to justify reaching out to claim its space on the world stage. If Scotland is to become independent, it will need to show that it is sharp, modern, realistic and capable of moving with the times.

      This ought to make things simple. But the division that exists within the Scottish populace over equal marriage is closely related to the division at the heart of the SNP. I am always amused by people who tell me that they plan to vote against independence because they don’t like the SNP. That, I’d say, is a very good reason to vote for it. Not only would their share of the vote be likely to decline thereafter, but there would be far less reason for

    2. the two halves of the party to stay together. The northern, rural, agricultural, paternalistic wing would go one way and the southern, urban, liberal wing would go another. They’re only staying together now because they have independence as a common goal. In the meantime, as in most instance were opposed parties make a sincere attempt to work together, Scotland benefits from relatively moderate, pragmatic government. But can they stay together that long?

      As Scotland’s people wait to see what the eventual outcome of the equal marriage discussion will be, the SNP has some serious thinking to do. If it expects us to believe that it is strong enough to carry Scotland through major constitutional change, it will have to show more mettle than it has today. It won’t be able to fob people off forever with the line that it just needs more time. And one thing is certain: if it cannot hold its own marriage together, it has no place denying marriage to those who might.

  34. To me the Scottish government does agree that Gay marriage should be legal. If they weren’t then they would not be issuing this to a committee allowing a free vote and getting ministers like the Justice Minister and Lord Advocate to discuss the issue. It seems like they want to gather the information they need to prove to the religious groups that they will Not be forced to conduct ceremonies against there will.

    1. I think you’re right, Charlie, that the SG do intend to legislate for equal marriage – they’ve just not actually said so yet! They’ve handled the whole thing badly right from the beginning.

    2. Also remember the Scottish Government refused to give in to the Catholic Church’s demands for a referendum so that shows that there refusing to allow the Catholic church to interfere with legislation of this issue.

      1. But your right :)they should just state in plain English that there going to pass a bill on Gay marriage but there looking to make sure that there wont be loopholes that can be challenged.

        (then there would be less confusion )

        1. (and less Headaches )

          1. I agree completely. They should say righf now that they ARE going to legislate but just need more time to sort out the legal issues.

  35. Remember a few months ago Alex Salmond spoke of Scotland being a “beacon of progressive opinion”? Well actions speak louder than soundbites.

    Surely it’s time for the Scottish Labour Party, LibDems or Greens to introduce an equal marraige bill to Parliament and force the SNP to back it or backtrack?

  36. For the SNP to dillydally for the third time risks their credibility on equality. Most people who support equality and fairness in marriage will find this bewildering. The First Minister must stand firm against powerful opponents, heal any divides in his own cabinet and take a lead on equality in marriage. Not shirk the responsibility and keep putting it off.

  37. My heart just sank. Absolutely disgusting procrastination by the SNP and the Scottish Government. What are you waiting for?

    However, it did make me think …

    Can you remember the last time an SNP cabinet meeting was reported as news, as a significant political moment?

    Somewhat uncharacteristic

  38. Imagine seeing the headline ‘Scottish government fails to decide on inter racial marriage’.

    1. Very good point! It’s the fact they haven’t yet decided whether we deserve equality or not that really gets to me. By all means discuss the legalities and details etc, but there should be no debate on if they should do it.

      1. They probably have but haven’t made it public yet. (wish they would !!) Just hope this sub-committee works well and dissolves any fears over forcing chuches to conduct ceremonies and that the Scottish Government will legislate for a marriage bill

        1. Yes, you’re probably right that they have made their decision but not made it public and that’s the problem right there! They support it but won’t publicly commit to legislation! It’s so frustrating! I just wish they’d man up and say they’re doing it!

  39. We also have to remember that folks like Nicola Sturgeon that are lawyers by profession have to gather as much information and evidence to back up there case as possible, so that there case considered strong. So i guess this meeting with a sub-commitee with the Justice Minister and Lord Advocate will do just that.

    1. Sorry just relised iv repeated myself a bit. :(

      1. Don’t worry, I do that all the time in comment after comment!

    2. Someone on Newsnight Scotland said that the issues this sub-cabinet are to discuss were in the consultation itself, so they’ve known about them along. If so, then it’s disappointing they’ve waited until now to deal with it when they’ve had 10 months or so. But I do understand the need for them to do it.

      1. Someone said there was a problem with Sturgeon on Newsnight Scotland … what happened?

        1. The presenter said they’d asked her to appear but she’d declined. That’s all as far as I know. They had no politicians at all talking about it, just journalists and a legal or ethics Professor or something like that.

          1. Sturgeon unwilling to appear before the TV cameras – thats unusual – embarrassed by the delay or the fiasco?

          2. Probably. But the last time she was on a tv show, she was widely criticised for making a claim about Scotland having a say in Bank of England policy if Scotland became independent – or something like that. Maybe Salmond didn’t trust her to go on Newsnight or maybe she was just too scared & embarrassed – like any politician would be in the same situation after the mess they made yesterday.

  40. “\and have contacted him to see how we can contribute to what he is looking to raise”

    LMAO! I see the delusion is still strong with you! Probably why you’re in here ranting like a demented little troll. How pathetic.

  41. I just wonder if the problem is related to the operation of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA). We know that (currently) in the UK a married trans person has to annul to get a gender recognition certificate. Somebody correct me if I am wrong, it seems that if the Scots had equal marriage, the gender recognition panel could not grant a GRC to a married Scots applicant even if equal marriage had been introduced in Scotland without a change to the UK GRA.

    Scotland will rely on UK cooperation to amend the GRA and I wonder if the easy solution will be to coordinate the introduction of equal marriage throughout the UK.

    1. I believe you are correct about the GRA, and you raise an excellent point.

      But I don’t believe that this is the obstacle to marriage equality.

      There is no legal reason why equal marriage could not go through in Scotland without amending the GRA.

      The result for trans people would be absurd – you would have to end the marriage, get your GRA, and remarry the same person – but it wouldn’t be illegal or impossible. Nor would it be worse for trans people in a practical sense than the current situation, although by making the discrimination so blatant, it might well be felt to be even more humiliating and frustrating than our current arrangements.

      I agree with you that the UK government will probably delay amending the GRA until it brings forward its own marriage legislation, leaving Scottish trans people in an upsetting situation in the interim.

      Bad for trans people and spouses of trans people – but almost certainly nothing to do with today’s cowardice.

      1. If the SG do actually wish to introduce equal marriage (and I believe the indications are that they do), if the delay is caused by some legal concerns that have been expressed which the SG wish to have resolved before making a formal announcement and if those concerns are (at least in part) about the GRA then the SG have a number of options (as I see it):

        i) Introduce a Scottish GRA or amendment clause(s) for Scotland simultaneously with the legislation for equal marriage
        ii) Acknowledge there is change in scenario for some marriages relating to transgender people and that there is an intention to introduce new law in this matter in Scotland after a consultation – but explaining that equal marriage will go ahead and demonstrating how legally marriage can occur for transgender people (whilst acknowledging this is far from ideal)
        iii) Blame Westminster and wait for them to catch up on the GRA (in my view, likely to blame Westminster but unlikely to wait for Westminster to resolve it).

    2. Tim Hopkins 18 Jul 2012, 10:44am

      Paula, although the GRA was Westminster legislation, it’s not reserved. So a Holyrood bill could amend the rules for people with births registered in Scotland. For example, so that a full GRC could be obtained from the sheriff court if you have an interim GRC and both spouses say they want the marriage to continue. I don’t know if that’s exactly how it will be dealt with, but the Scottish Govt have certainly been discussing amending the GRA rules with the UK Govt. There is no reason why Scotland should not go ahead with same-sex marriage and an amendment to the GRA, before the rest of the UK does, so long as the UK Govt are prepared to cooperate on cross-border details.

    3. The GRA need extensive amendments, some of which will be necessitated by equal marriage since avoiding same-sex marriage accounts for quite a proportion of its text, but there are many other urgent matters we would wish to see changed at the same time. Not least the ban on under-18s, which obviously impacts equal marriage too, since marriage can be at 16. But I don’t see anything that would prevent equal marriage if the GRA was left as it is. Things would just be more obviously ridiculous.

      You can still have equal marriage even if a GRA applicant has to swear out a declaration they aren’t married, or in a CP, or if they are, has to get that marriage (or CP) ended (not anulled) and have another.

      The more discriminatory it looks, the more chance we can get serious privacy provisions, provision for UK-born people living overseas, for foreign visitors, and indeed recognition of change of sex as well as gender.

      1. Hopefully …

  42. The cause of the delay according to this report from “The Sun”

    “almost a year since unveiling the proposals, ministers don’t know whether they’ll leave religious groups vulnerable to legal action. Catholic leaders claim churches could be sued for refusing to conduct gay marriage ceremonies, even though the proposals would not force them to.
    They also warned that teachers could face action if they refuse to educate kids about equal marriage.
    The government has now set up a special committee chaired by deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to examine the legal issues.”

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/news/4435701/Ministers-in-gay-weddings-delay-row.html

    1. If that is the case then the SG need to pay attention to this:

      Karon Monaghan QC of Matrix Chambers, who specialises in human rights, equality and discrimination law, contradicts reports that faith institutions may be forced to conduct same-sex marriages;

      “the protection afforded by Article 9 to religious organisations is strong…I consider that requiring a faith group or a member of its clergy to conduct same-sex marriages contrary to its doctrine or the religious convictions of its members would violate Article 9. Any challenge brought on human rights grounds seeking to establish a same-sex couple’s right to marry in church would inevitably fail for that reason. In balancing the rights of a same-sex couple and a religious organisation’s rights under Article 9 (in particular, in relation to a matter such as marriage, so closely touching upon a religious organisation’s beliefs) the courts would be bound to give priority to the religious organisation’s Article 9 rights.”

      1. The Law Society state that “The European Court of Human Rights has already indicated that it sees same-sex marriage as a matter for national authorities, and that it is not going to force religious groups to conduct same-sex marriages.” Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, the society’s vice president, told Radio 4′s Today programme it was “inconceivable” that the Strasbourg court would force a faith group to conduct a gay wedding against its beliefs. She added that the European Court of Human Rights might in fact object more to a blanket ban on religious gay wedding ceremonies, adding: “What it might say is that religious organisations should be allowed to if they want to.”

        Shami Chakrabhati from Liberty said: “The debate around same-sex marriage becomes hysterical when people don’t understand relevant law and principle. As this country’s national Human Rights organisation, we have a long tradition both of promoting equal treatment and defending the rights of those whose opinions we do not share.

      2. We are not religious experts but, frankly, neither are the Bishops human rights lawyers. The Church of England should have greater confidence in the strength of freedom of conscience protection under Article 9. As our leading QC’s opinion clearly demonstrates, provision for gay marriage in the UK could never result in religious denominations opposed to it being ordered to conduct such ceremonies.”

        Clearly, Liberty is a human rights organisation that covers the entire UK.

        Whilst the law society and QC opinion could be argued to be about the law of England & Wales, the human rights law is UK wide and the European Court is equally applicable to Scotland as it is to England & Wales. Thus, the legal opinion is equally valid in Scotland.

        The claims of the RC church, and others, that they would be forced to carry out marriages are, at best, disingenuous rhetoric, but given the wealth of legal opinion that stands opposed to this – more likely to be lies.

        If this is the reason of the

      3. the latest delay, then it should be easily resolved by the Lord Advocate – and a consistent application of UK and European law should lead them to a very similar conclusion to those of the Westminster government, Liberty, the Law Society of England & Wales and others. They should conclude that the RC (and others) claims of being forced are scaremongering that is not based in legal fact.

        Of course, who would expect the RC church to get it correct, legally?
        a) they are not experts in human rights or human rights law
        b) they oppose equality and undoubtedly will find obstacles to place in the way of equality – indeed they have publically said they will use “every tactic” available to them to raise war on equal marriage – they have already used mistruths, manipulations and deception – so legal falsehoods in their war on equality is not a step much further in their grotesque battle
        c) they are blinded by their indoctrination

    2. Judges in Europe recently said, gay marriage is not a human right, BUT once same-sex marriage has been legalised then the partners to such a marriage are entitled to exactly the same rights as partners in a heterosexual marriage.

      Presumably, this means that if same-sex marriage is legalised in Scotland it will be illegal to prevent marriages happening in religious premises.

      1. Article 9 could not be used to force marriages to take place against the will of a religous organisation, but it could be used to ensure that those religous organisations who wish to are able to conduct marriages if their religious freedom is threatened from being unable to do so.

      2. Tim Hopkins 18 Jul 2012, 10:51am

        Doug, that would certainly not apply to church weddings. The opponents of equal marriage have been peddling the claim that the European Court of Human Rights has said that if same-sex marriage is legalised, all churches that do marriages will have to do same-sex marriages. The claim is false; the Court has said no such thing. As Stu explained above, article 9 of the Euro Convention on Human Rights protects churches’ right to refuse to do them.

  43. The Parliament in Westminster has the power to pass any laws, no matter what the ECHR says. Scotland does not have this power. If they pass laws which don’t fit with the Convention rights the courts will overrule them.

    Judges in Europe recently said, once same-sex marriage has been legalised then the partners to such a marriage are entitled to exactly the same rights as partners in a heterosexual marriage.

    Presumably, this means that if same-sex marriage is legalised in Scotland it will be illegal to prevent marriages happening in religious premises.

    I think this must be part of the reason for the delay, but a win-win situation for gays don’t you think!

    1. However, article 9 protection of religious organisations is strong both in the European convention and in UK HRA. These are legal conventions already applicable to Scotland. The right to religious freedom would be protected by the European Courts and they have already indicated that they will not force religous organisations who do not wish to, to perform marriages of any couple they refuse on religious grounds (whether opposite sex or same sex).

      If and when Scotland introduces law to enable same sex couples to marry, article 9 would not be abolished – it would still exist and still be applicable to Scotland (unless Scotland becomes independent and rejects the ECHR and the preexisting human rights legislation that comes from historical UK association, which is highly unlikely). There would be no legal remedy to force a religious organisation to carry out a marriage it believed was not appropriate – whatever the context of the couple involved.

      1. But on the other hand it couldn’t stop a religious organisation to carry out a marriage it believed as appropriate.

        1. Absolutely.

          So it couldnt force the RC church or the Free Church (Continuing) to marry a couple they could not theologically agree to marry; but nor could it say to the Quakers, Unitarians or other denominations or individual churches or ministers that they were not able to marry a couple they felt they wished to support in this way.

  44. End of the month!!!!

    Not so bad I guess, at least O’Brian’s call for a referendum was ditched!

    I think they could have, however, told us whether in princple they were going to do it and they could have left the detail for later.

    No-one would have realistically expected the detail straight away, would they?

  45. http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/political-news/salmond-stands-firm-over-same-sex-marriage-plans.18176526

    I think this is a positive article, sounds like it’s definitely going to happen and the sub-committee is simply there to

    “examine how to protect “religious freedom and freedom of speech” if gay marriage was legalised ”

    Here’s hoping for something postive in less than 2 weeks time!

  46. SG are briefing the media, but not publically stating, that they plan to legislate for equal marriage.

    The briefing is unattributable.

    Why are they scared to say so in public?

    Why were they scared of putting Sturgeon forward for BBC Newsnight Scotland last night?

  47. Good editorial in The Scotsman this morning. Although I dont agree with every single word, the general thrust of it is strong and correct:

    http://www.scotsman.com/the-scotsman/opinion/comment/leaders-this-gay-marriage-delay-must-be-the-last-1-2416804

    “THE Scottish Government may officially insist otherwise, but it is clear that the Cabinet yesterday delayed a decision on its proposed legis­lation on gay marriage.

    Yesterday had been pencilled in as decision day at the end of a long process of consultation and debate. The outcome of the Cabinet meeting was, however, the creation of a new Cabinet sub-committee under the convenership of Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, “to further examine some particular issues of detail before a final decision is reached”.

    Of course, this is a complicated issue, both in terms of its legal niceties and its politics. On the latter, ministers will be all too aware they are in a “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” position. A

    1. decision to press ahead with gay marriage will be hailed by some as a historic milestone for equality and gay rights, while being condemned by others as the destruction of marriage and the family. A fudge will be celebrated by some as a victory for traditional values, while lamented by others as a denial of basic fundamental rights to a minority group.

      On this issue of delay, the government receives the benefit of the doubt. It is right that the pro­cess of government is deliberative and considered. We should not condemn politicians for wanting to think things through in full.

      If ministers feel they need extra time to work on their final proposal and how it will be presented to the public, then that is fine. Let them take the extra fortnight they say they need. But let them be in no doubt that when the
allotted time runs out, the right decision will be to bring forward legislation which will enshrine the right of two people to marry, regardless of their gender.

      The delay in

    2. reaching a conclusion may well be due to ministers examining various potential compromises in the hope of satisfying both sides of what has been the most acrimonious debate in Scottish public life since the time of the Section 2(a) furore a decade ago (also, it will surprise no-one, an issue about legal recognition of homosexuality as a legitimate way of living a life).

      In particular, some church groups have been lobbying hard for a clause that would exempt places of worship from any sanctioning of equal marriage. This argument has obvious flaws, not least of which is the inconvenient fact that some denominations are entirely relaxed – and in some cases positively enthusiastic – about holding gay marriage
services in their churches and synagogues.

      Are we to preference one faith over another? If so, on what grounds? Numbers attending church? Depth of faith? Political heft? The proposal at present is to allow religious groups the right to refuse if they so wish.

      The right to

    3. choose trumps the right to block. The Scottish Government must do the right thing and legislate for equal marriage.”

      If the SNP government are not open and transparent at the end of July by introducing equal marriage and being prepared to explain and entirely justify their decision to support civil rights equality – then I shudder to think of the strength of anger of the response from the LGBT (and wider) population of Scotland against the SNP, SG and others. I fear, direct action would become a very real issue. This is a matter of fairness, equality and integrity. Human rights and civil rights are issues government have a responsibility to uphold and ensure. So far, the SNP have made noises (and are continuing to do so) that they support fairness and equality, their actions are stuttering, shuddering and weak. They need to show strength – otherwise I fear they will learn how strong the LGBT voice, campaign and campaign for civil rights equality really is.

  48. The view that there was a split in the SNP cabinet persists:

    http://www.scottishdailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/333596/Gay-marriage-ruling-delayed-by-SNP-split-

    “After they ducked the issue for a third time, there was widespread speculation that a split in Alex Salmond’s Cabinet had forced the deadlock. Names mentioned as potential rebels included Infrastructure Secretary Alex Neil, but a Scottish Government spokesman strenuously denied any minister had threatened to resign.

    Meanwhile briefing by the SG continues, although unattributable, that they wish to introduce equal marriage legislation.

    Salmond should have either accepted (or encouraged) the resignation of Alex Neil (or whoever was trying to blackmail the Cabinet to act against civil rights), why did he show weak leadership?

    “It was also announced that a committee led by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will assess the proposals further before any decision is taken. Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and

    1. … Education Secretary Mike Russell will also take part to examine issues such as freedom of speech and belief and the need to ensure appropriate protections.

      It seems the legal argument briefings (although unattributable) have merit.

      All sides, including even the RC church, are agreed on one thing – the SG look indecisive.

      1. One report (the Scotsman, I think) denied rumours of a Minister threatening to resign. I don’t know much about Alex Neil’s views on gay issues – if he’s the one being suggested. He’s been an MSP sincd 1999, so his voting record could be checked. Or it could be he’s one of the people worried about the effect this will have on the independence referendum.

  49. Yesterday’s announcement that the government will not meet the Church’s demands for a referendum will provide some succour to the many SNP MSPs who believe a modern Scotland should recognise same-sex marriage. But at the same time they will be dismayed by yesterday’s non-event.

    Ministers have had seven months to consider the issues. Yesterday’s prevarication sends out the wrong message at a time when the SNP could be setting the agenda across the UK.

    The momentum in favour of same-sex marriage is almost unstoppable, and any attempt to slow down would damage the government’s reputation.

    It is clear the same-sex marriage bill has enough MSP support (from all parties) to get through Holyrood.

    Even Souter has remained silent of the issue, at least publically.

    So the non-event (that the SG had been briefing would be an event) yesterday is a shambles for the SG and a sign of weakness.

  50. Scottish Government briefings suggest ministers are moving towards approval of both registry and church weddings for same-sex couples.

    Ms Sturgeon’s cabinet sub-committee is to examine how to protect “religious freedom and freedom of speech” if gay marriage was legalised and report directly to the First Minister, who will announce the way forward later this month without another cabinet meeting.

    The noises from the SNP are more hopeful, but they could have managed the media and public expectation much better.

  51. Craig Denney 18 Jul 2012, 12:18pm

    Crunch time for Westminster will be the next Queens speech in November. Westminster was much criticised for marriage equality not being in the last Queens speech.

    I’ve known all along that the ‘nasty party’ is not going to introduce marriage equality and when it’s not in the Queens speech in November I’ll be vindicated!

    1. What do your comments have to do with the situation in Scotland, Craig?

  52. I wonder which minister threatened to resign,? I hazard three guesses Micheal Mathison, Roseanna Cunningham or Brian Adam ?

  53. burningworms 24 Jul 2012, 6:09pm

    Democracy at work;slowly surely they’ll find their right minds.

These comments are un-moderated and do not necessarily represent the views of PinkNews.co.uk. If you believe that a comment is inappropriate or libellous, please contact us.

Top commenters this week

Latest stories

See all