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Equal marriage advocates collect messages for Scottish government ‘thank you’

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  1. Reading some of those thank you messages actually almost brought me to tears (even as a man who normally lacks emotion), proud day for Scotland and hopefully will set a precedent for the rest of the UK to follow.

  2. Was going to post a message but it looks like you have to put your address when you post.

    1. I’m not going to post a message, I intend to e-mail my constituency MSP instead, but I’d say you can trust the Equality Network!

      1. Just wondered if other people would see my address on the online billboard. Not to sure ?

        1. I would think it doesn’t show up, just like when you put your e-mail address into the Pink News comments, it doesn’t show up, only your name shows up. You could always e-mail the Equality Network to ask them – the article says they won’t pass it on to Nicola Sturgeon for 2 weeks, I think.

          You could always e-mail or write to your local MSP asking to pass your thanks on to Nicola Sturgeon.

          1. Alright thanks, guess i can either sent message via equality network or sent a message to my local MSP which is Alex Salmond. :)

    2. Have sent my message, although i think it sent it twice, by accident.

  3. A bit off topic, but if anyone’s interested in media coverage of yesterday’s news about marriage in Scotland here is a compilation of some of the reports:-

    http://youtu.be/8fRijcSuo2Y (BBC news on BBC One at 1pm)
    http://youtu.be/YTc2A3oiOjU (BBC news on BBC One at 6pm)
    http://youtu.be/aj-vZZOJmp8 (BBC news on BBC One at 10pm)

    http://youtu.be/BuNO6jVF3ak (ITV news at 6.30pm on ITV1)
    http://youtu.be/-_oSzbekfLw (ITV news at 10.15pm on ITV1)

    http://youtu.be/U4kKDcykX9s (Channel 4 news at 7pm)

    http://youtu.be/zjO7NF45TgM (5 News – Channel 5 at 5pm)

    http://youtu.be/uHy5RoDnzrs (Newsround on CBBC at 6.55pm)

    1. The news reports I saw on BBC Reporting Scotland and STV Scotland Today was very disappointing. Both led with the story saying that the SG was pushing ahead with gay marriage despite the consultation being overwhelmingly against it. I felt it was misleading and put a negative spin on a very positive story.

  4. While I’m overjoyed that the SG have decided to bring forward legislation for equal marriage, I’m not going to be grateful that I’ve been granted equality which everyone else already had.

    It took the SG seven months since the consultation closed to decide if we should get equality – not how or when but IF.

    I didn’t see anyone thanking the coalition government when they decided to legislate right at the very start of their consultation process.

    1. Now now, BennieM ;-)

      I do agree we should not be grateful for being granted our rights – that should happen.

      I am grateful that the SNP have listened though.

      1. Oh I am glad that the SNP have made the decision to legislate and I do recognise their part in progressing gay equality by doing so – but I can’t be grateful that they had to decide IF we should get equality at all, which is what they did.

        I am also puzzled at the different reactions to the 2 goverments over this. This coalition UK gov have been treated with suspicion & cynicism at every step while the SNP have been praised – yet both govs have followed very processes, in fact the coalition comitted to legislation much earlier than the SNP did. As I say, nobody thanked the coalition when they annouced their intention to legislate right at the start, and that’s really all the SNP have done too yet they’re being praised for doing it.

        I know I’m very critical of the SNP over gay equality, but I have no problem with them other than that. It’s great they’ve taken this step but they still have to address certain other issues too, I think.

        1. By the way, Stu, I accidently thumbed your comment down! Sorry!

          1. No prob re the thumb down lol

            I agree with most that you say in your comments, BennieM

            However, I do not think it is true to say that the SNP govt have consistently been praised whilst the Westminster govt have faced cynicism and criticism. Both govts have experienced some praise and some cynicism – as well as some deliberately worded comments intended to derail the process of securing equality.

          2. I certainly think there has a very big difference in how the 2 governments have been treated over this. It may only be my perception of it rather than it being true, true.

            I can understand why I think the SNP have been getting too much praise given my usual view on their gay equality record, although I’d like to think it’s not all down to that and that I can be more objective.

            On the other side of it, though, I have no love at all for this current UK government or either of the parties which make it up, so I’m certainly not biased in their favour when it comes to the criticism they have received over this.

  5. Premature. The Scottish Government needs to withdraw its plans to drive a truck through the middle of the Equality Act for the whole of the UK. Right now they’re proposing to seriously undermine equality and employment law in a way that completely overshadows the gain provided by same-sex marriages.

    Long story short: If everything goes ahead as proposed, it will create a situation in UK law where it is legal to fire someone for supporting same-sex marriage, but not for opposing it. It sets LGBT equality on a pedestal as something which it is acceptable or even commendable to oppose by comparison to other inequalities, and in the process robs faith groups of the power to set their own doctrine – unless that doctrine is homophobic, biphobic and transphobic.

    1. I agree that LGBT campaigners need to be very alert to the possibility that the government will agree to an exception in the Equality Act that would allow homophobes to refuse employment, services, rooms, etc to people who are in a same-sex marriage, or to allow teachers to refuse to teach that same-sex marriages are okay.

      The exception should be strictly limited to allowing clergy to refuse to perform same-sex marriages. I don’t think it needs to be in the Equality Act at all; it would be better included in the legislation that allows same-sex marriages.

      1. Equality Network 26 Jul 2012, 6:55pm

        We understand at present that that is the limit of the proposed change to the Equality Act. However Emma’s general point is important – no doubt the Catholic Church will seek bigger changes and it is vital that we successfully oppose that.

        1. I’ve a feeling the Catholic Church aren’t going to accept this gracefully! No doubt they’ll try to pressure individual MSPs into voting against it. I’ve got to say that I don’t think such a move would work. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the support from MSPs for equal marriage. I think Scotland has really changed for the better over the last decade or so with regard to gay equality. Look at how the Labour/Lib Dem Scottish Exec let Westminster deal with the Civil Partnership legislation in 2005. I was so angry at the time that they wouldn’t deal with it and it’s good to see the current SNP government taking the responsibility this time around.

          1. Don’t care whether the RC church accept it or not. Their grotesque and inhumane appraoches are visible to one and all and an utter irrelevance.

            As for equality act legislation – its a minor amendment that would effect Scotland only (as has happened with other legislation since devolution). Unless (of course) the Westminster govt chose to make it appplicable to the entire UK.

          2. I don’t care what the catholic church thinks either, I was just warning of more hatred to come from them. At least we know it won’t matter so much what the catholic church say now as the SG have comitted to legislation, whereas before I was worried the church might have swayed the SG in making their decision.

          3. And I suppose it’s possible that individual MSPs could be targeted to persuade them to vote against it, like I said in my earlier comment. If the church thinks there’s even the slightest chance to stop it, they won’t give up. There’s only a majority of 9 or so MSPs in favour of equal marriage so far, that’s not many. If they changed their mind between now and the vote in Parliament, then it could fail to be passed. It’s unlikely, I know, but not impossible. After all my own local SNP MSP already backtracked on it, and I have an e-mail to prove it.

      2. The problem is that allowing clergy to opt out of but not into performing same-sex marriage contrary to the doctrine of their employers privileges opposition over support. That’s not a defensible position for a neutral government, never mind one that is supportive of LGBT rights.

        That isn’t a concession that marriage equality campaigners has the standing to accept on behalf of the UK population as a whole. It creates a *massive* legal uncertainty around religious freedom and the whole principle of genuine occupational requirement. This is bigger than marriage, even if the exemption is implemented exactly as currently proposed. Any lobby group throwing its support behind this compromise needs to do so on the basis of *thorough* legal advice from a firm well versed in equality and employment law.

        1. It would be applicable to Scotland only (unless the Westminster govt chose to make it apply to the rest of the UK), Emma.

          So your comment about this “driving a truck” through the Equality Act “for the rest of the UK” is incorrect.

  6. In this article, Tom French of the Equality Network says that we can expect equal marriage to be passed next year. But all the news reports have said it will be 2015 before it comes into force.

    Can anyone please clarify this?!

    1. Any same-sex marriage legislation in Scotland will require modification to UK legislation which interacts with marriage (particularly the Gender Recognition Act). With England and Wales soon to be introducing same-sex marriage, it’s unlikely that the government in Westminster will be enthusiastic about passing the same amendments twice (as a single amendment for the whole of the UK while only Scotland had same-sex marriage would create a massive grey area in England and Wales during the intervening period).

      1. Surely the SG can pass same sex marriage legislation without the need to amend the UK equality laws? Aren’t the protections the churches need already in place? After all, they must already have equality opt outs.

        1. I just can’t help worrying when the SNP are saying they’ll need co-operation from Westminster in order to pass the equal marriage legislation. We all know how well (or not!) that’s worked in the past! I have a vision of a future Alex Salmond angrily blaming Westminster for the SNP government not been able to pass the legislation after all!

          1. Equality Network 26 Jul 2012, 9:05pm

            The news reports in Scotland last week indicate that the UK Govt is very aware that if the idea got about that equal marriage in Scotland was being held up by their non-cooperation, it could reflect badly on the union. That is presumably one reason why the Home Office have been very public in the past 30 hours that they will cooperate with the Scottish Govt and will not put barriers in the way of marriage equality here.

          2. To be honest, it wasn’t the UK government I was worried about!

            I know this may sound crazy, and very cynical given the SNP have now commited to legislation, but I have a small fear they (the SG) could deliberately not co-operate with the UK gov in order to stop or slow down equal marriage legislation, yet put the blame on the UK gov.

      2. Equality Network 26 Jul 2012, 8:49pm

        The Gender Recognition Act is not reserved, meaning that amendments can be made for Scotland, by the Scottish Parliament. There are ways of removing the divorce requirement for Scotland without changing the prodecures of the Gender Recognition Panel, which currently operates on a UK basis, at all.

        1. I’m no expert on all of this, far from it, in fact! But the more I hear, the less I understand the need for Westminster to get involved with a devolved matter. I know I shouldn’t be so pessimistic after the great news yesterday, but I can’t help but fear the worst!

          1. Equality Network 26 Jul 2012, 9:10pm

            Hi Bennie – it’s because there are potentially reserved law aspects to marriage – tax, pension regulation, etc that only the UK Govt can make, and then there are amendments to English law needed to clarify cross-border issues such as how a Scottish same-sex marriage is recognised if the couple move to England. These are relatively smalll “consequential” amendments that would be made by the UK Govt by statutory instrument after Holyrood passes the equal marriage act, and need not hold up that act at all. But they do require the UK and Scottish Govts to cooperate and agree.

          2. Ok, thanks for the info, and please pass my thanks on to everyone at the Equality Network who have worked and campaigned so hard to achieve this!

      3. Equality Network 26 Jul 2012, 8:58pm

        On Emma’s general point, when Scotland introduces equal mariage, a number of consequential amendments will be needed to reserved Scots law, and to English law on cross border recognition issues. That’s not unusual; it happens with a lot of Scottish Acts. The mechanism for the UK Govt to do those consequential amendments is called a “section 104 order” – they are made by statutory instrument.

        Of course if the UK Govt happened to be putting through Westminster an equal marrriage bill for England and Wales at the right time (2013 to 2014), that might be an alternative mechanism to make some of the consequential amendments for Scotland.

        However, Scots marriage law is already very different from English, and there is no reason why Scotland should not introduce equal marriage even if for some reason it does not go ahead for England and Wales.

        1. Equality Network 26 Jul 2012, 9:01pm

          And for the avoidance of doubt, if that were to happen (Scotland getting equal marriage some time before England and Wales), then any small amendment to the Equality Act, clarifying the law for religious celebrants, would apply only in Scotland. Although most of the Equality Act is the same across GB, there are already a number of parts of it that apply only in Scotland because they interact with other Scots law that is different.

        2. That does make me feel more confident about it! Thanks for explaining! I’m probably just too set in my ways to trust politicians even when they are actually doing it!

          1. Equality Network 26 Jul 2012, 9:12pm

            I think it’s right to always consider what might go wrong!

          2. I’m glad I’m not a government minister with all the different laws to consider when drafting new laws! My Modern Studies teacher at school (who was the daughter of Willie Ross, the former Scottish Secretary in the 60’s) once said that it helped when politicians were lawyers before going into politics or something like that, and now I see why!

            It just seems as though as this extra stuff about needing changes to UK legislation has suddenly cropped up last week, although I realise that’s not the case, it had to be considered all along.

    2. Equality Network 26 Jul 2012, 8:31pm

      Tom means that the bill could be passed by Holyrood by the end of 2013. But it will not come into effect immediately. The Scottish Govt base their timeline on it taking 12 months to consult on and put in place the required secondary legislation. That’s why they say first marriages could be start of 2015. The Equality Act amendment would be done during that 12 months by statutory instrument at Westminster. Very unlikely the Uk Govt will cause delays at that stage as it will be in the run up to the independence referendum.

      1. Right, I see. It would be quite good if the two goverments could work together to try and synchronise same sex marriage coming into effect on the same date. The coalition UK gov have always said 2015, haven’t they, so if it’s going to be the same year anyway, it would make sense to line up Scotland, England & Wales to the same date.

  7. The site scrunched my comments, and posted the intitally given text….
    Grumpf!

  8. Just sent a message of thanks to the Scots government. This is really wonderful. Wish the dweebs in Washington would have the cojones to do this, but it will probably be a long time before we ever see true marriage equality here.

  9. I think we should be sending a thank-you card to the Equality Network.

    Thanks for a strong campaign, prompt and effective rebuttal of homophobic craziness, great analysis of the legal issues – and still finding time to come on to PN to post extensive comments, as in this thread.

  10. There’s quite an interesting article in today’s Sunday Herald which points out that the SG’s decision, as welcome as it was, still doesn’t guarantee that this equal marriage legislation will be passed.

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/mobile/comment/columnists/allowing-gay-marriage-might-be-a-gesture-but-it-feels-like-a-break-with-a-dismal-past.18270829

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