Yes: 105 No:18 – The Scotland equal marriage bill has been passed.
Yes: 105 No:18 – The Scotland equal marriage bill has been passed.
Alex Neil has promised that the Scottish government will treat the right of overseas civil partners to marry in Scotland as a priority.
Alex Neil MSP: “Freedom of speech is alive and well on all sides in Scotland, and that’s the way it should be.”
Jackie Baillie MSP: “This is about a nation that cherishes love.”
She says “we are not redefining marriage, we are extending the eligibility for marriage.”
Jackie Baillie MSP says the previous comments were “out of step” even in light of people who have opposed the bill.
We’re currently in the closing speeches of the debate.
Margaret Mitchell MSP prattles on: “Equality is about fairness, it is not about making everyone the same.”
She says there is “nothing fair” about making people feel apprehensive for opposing same-sex marriage.
Margaret Mitchell MSP says the bill “will be passed this evening…it has been a foregone conclusion.”
She says she is “disappointed” that the previous wrecking amendments have not been passed, as these would have made the bill more “robust” apparently.
Jean Urquheart MSP points out that several countries across the world have already legalised same-sex marriage.
“Marriage does not belong to any one organisation…Same-sex couples as human beings do not wish to be treated differently to anyone else.”
Jim Eadie MSP: “This Bill is life changing.”
He points out how the Scottish bill will introduce trans and intersex equality, not just equality for gay couples.
Jim Eadie MSP: “I am immensely proud this parliament will pass this bill into law this evening.”
He says the bill is the hallmark of a country that is “comfortable in its own skin.”
Patrick Harvie MSP says there is still a “vociferous” opposition to same-sex marriage equality, with some people “baffled” that equal marriage should be treated with respect.
“Most people who get married in Scotland these days choose not to involve religion in any way,” he reminds the parliament. “I have yet to hear any clear, coherent, or moral argument why same-sex relationships are inferior.”
Patrick Harvie MSP says he imagines how passing this legislation must have felt when he was coming out.
“It’s taken us a little bit longer than Westminster to get to this point,” he says, but points out they now have a “better bill as a result.”
Christian Allard MSP says that there are still a lot of people out there with prejudices.
“We need as a parliament to have introduced this bill.”
Mary Scanlon says she has received emails saying she would be “struck down by the wrath of God” for her support of same-sex marriage.
Mary Scanlon MSP says she “fully respects” her colleagues who choose to oppose same-sex marriage.
She points out that she previously thought abstaining was the right thing to do, but she will now be supporting the bill.
She says the “tipping point” was in reading the emails that came in – the “language” of people who opposed the bill ultimately made her change her mind.
Nigel Don SNP says as a Christian at Stage 1 he found it “very difficult” to accept the legislation.
“We didn’t have a choice to go an alternative route. It said on its face that we were going to redefine marriage.
“I felt that the government should have brought something forward regarding civil partnerships.”
He moves on: “So having decided that we were going to redefine marriage, we have to address the practical consequences of the legislation.”
He says he will support the bill tonight.
Kevin Stewart MSP: “My constituents have told me to support same-sex marriage by 10 to 1.”
Kevin Stewart mocks MSPs who pleaded that the parliament pass amendments to “show that they have been listening.”
Mary Fee MSP says the work of the Scottish Government is to be commended. “Today I will be proud to vote for equal marriage for Scotland.”
Mary Fee MSP disputes the “evil consequences” of same-sex marriages proposed by some of the other MSPs.
She asks of efforts campaigning against same-sex marriage: “Where is the campaign to stop divorce?”
John Finnie MSP: “There is no hierarchy. You either believe in equality or you don’t.”
He says it is clear that one person’s “morality” is another person’s prejudice.
The aforementioned rainbow from earlier today:
John Mason MSP says we are an “untidy” society who are as not as Christian as he would like.
[Apologies for the downtime. The site has experienced a large number of visitors.]
John Mason MSP: “It would be good today to reach a decision and get on with our business.”
He says, we need to be “realistic,” that this is quite a serious change, and that it “undermines” the views of some people in society.
He talks about “religious discrimination” again.
Jim Hume MSP says “getting the balance right” has been key to the equal marriage debate.
“I don’t buy the argument that gay people should be happy with what they have, as if they have already been given some special concession.”
Linda Fabiani MSP says she is brought back to the ethic that “this is absolutely the right thing to do.”
She says she wants to live in a society where people do not have to hide who they are.
“Yes we have done something pretty wonderful today, but let’s not kid ourselves that it solves everything.”
Drew Smith MSP: “Equality in law will not mean the end discrimination, but it is a good first step”
He says the discrimination and oppression faced by gay and lesbian people across the world has been “a constant and near universal fear.”
He says the Sochi Winter Games, coming this week, will “remind us that the world is not so small.”
Richard Lyle MSP says he regrets “being out of step” with the majority on the issue of equal marriage.
“It is my conviction that marriage is a unique relationship between a man and a woman,” he goes on.
He complains he has been “branded homophobic,” saying he has always brought his children up to respect people no matter “what they are.”
…And then he pulls the “I have gay friends” argument.
James Dornan MSP says this bill “strengthens marriage” against Johnstone’s consternations.
“Today is one of those rare days where you can say as a politician ‘I’ve made a difference’. I think that’s something we should all be proud of.
“If today was my last day in Parliament I could leave office knowing I’d really accomplished something.”
He points out the sunshine of the day of a same-sex marriage with regards to “that UKIP comment.”
Alex Johnstone MSP says he will “vote with the minority.”
However, he want to draw attention to the “respect” between the two sides of the debate.
“I hope and pray we will have the positive outcomes that some have been talking about,” although he says we should be prepared if “we are not as lucky.”
Margaret McCulloch: “I support same-sex marriage as a matter of principle.”
She says much has been made about the state of public opinion. “It has even been suggested that the bill be put to a referendum.”
She says she does not agree with the tyranny of the majority on the rights of the minority.
On the right to express a “traditional view of marriage,” she says this is already covered by freedom of speech rights. It does not apply to the bill.
“The bill does not curtail religious freedom, it enhances it.”
“Words and definitions go a long way towards challenging attitudes.”
Marco Biagi MSP brings to attention the importance of trans recognition in the Scotland equal marriage bill.
Marco Biagi MSP pleads that Scotland extends the liberty of tolerance granted for migrants towards people of a different sexual orientation.
“Civil partners” makes us sound like “we are in business together, rather than in a loving relationship.”
“Religions can and do refuse to marry people, that is not going to change.”
Jackie Baillie MSP points out that no one will be “compelled” to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.
Jackie Baillie MSP says “ultimately, this is a government bill.”
She says she has to say that views are passionately held against the bill, and she has to respect that, but attitudes are changing.
She quotes that the 2010 survey of people in Scotland in favour of marriage was 64%
Reports are coming in that a rainbow has indeed emerged over the parliament as the debate goes on.
Alex Neil MSP reminds the parliament that there is nothing in the bill that “impacts on freedom of speech.”
Alex Neil MSP says “today marks a historic day.”
“We’re doing a remarkable thing here today,” he continues.
The debate for the motion on the Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Scotland) Bill begins.
Alex Neil MSP’s following technical amendments agreed to.
This concludes consideration of amendments towards the bill.
All grouped five technical amendments on the issue of obtaining a GRC have passed.
After vote, amendment 30 Not Agreed 100/30
Amendment 4, 5, 6 agreed to.
Amendment 29 not moved.
Amendment 30 agreed to.
Amendments put forward on the issue of obtaining a full gender recognition certificate.
Patrick Harvie MSP withdraws amendment 28. No objections.
Patrick Harvie MSP is winding up his amendment.
Alex Neil MSP says the government has already published a remit for a review on civil partnerships.
He also suggests, in terms of time scale, that they get the job of the current legislation done as quickly as possible.
Mark McDonald MSP says he has sympathy with Patrick Harvie’s amendment, although there is the potential argument that civil partnerships would no longer become necessary due to equal marriage.
Stewart Maxwell says it is a matter of “freedom of choice.”
He disagrees that it is a choice between apples and oranges and says that sometimes a person has a “choice between two apples.”
He says he would urge a vote of “no” to the amendment.
Marco Biagi MSP says that while some may see civil partnerships as tainted by irredeemable discrimination, marriage itself may be seen as tainted by a history of sexism.
Marco Biagi MSP quotes Norman Tebbit’s outrageous remark that heterosexuals are “discriminated against” with regards to civil partnerships.
- Although he says that the exclusivity of civil partnerships is still discriminatory for LGBT people, as it is a “mark of difference.”
He says it is a “little bit distasteful” in the same way as wearing a badge which say ‘I am gay’.
Amendment 28 introduced by Patrick Harvie MSP seeking a timescale for a civil partnership review.
“Not a sunset clause” amendment Not Agreed 100 to 19.
He presses his amendment, in spite of obvious disagreement.
John Mason MSP is wrapping up his proposed amendment.
Alex Neil MSP agrees with Patrick Harvie. He calls the clause “destabilising.”
“It would be a very wrong signal that we send out to the entirety of Scottish society.”
Patrick Harvie MSP: “Let us welcome the real consequences of this legislation. Let us welcome them with joy.”
Patrick Harvie MSP comments that the “signal” this amendment would send is that same-sex marriages would remain an “open question.”
He asks “is there any other category that members would like to put on hold for the next 5 years?”
He agrees that it stipulates that same-sex marriage can only have negative consequences.
John Mason MSP moves forward his final amendment for a statutory review of equal marriage, which he says is “not a sunset clause”.
Amendment 26 Not Agreed 96/19
Amendment 3 for protecting views against same-sex marriage Not Agreed 95/19
Amendment 1 Not Agreed 98/20
Amendment 2 Not Agreed 98/27
Patrick Harvie MSP says that homophobia does exist in our society and these amendments could legitimise it
Bob Doris MSP agrees with Mr Eadie’s contribution regarding amendment 1.
He says he doesn’t think it is the case that people who oppose same-sex marriage are necessarily homophobic however.
SNP’s Kevin Stewart said he has always had an interest in fostering and adoption.
“The consideration of that child’s future is absolutely paramount.”
He says what he cannot understand is why Lyle privileges protections for one set of beliefs over all other sets of beliefs.
Murdo Fraser MSP speaks in support of amendment 2.
He says faith-based charities could suffer as a result of changing views of marriage equality, even if they aren’t shut down.
Nigel Don says the bill “changes the 2000+ year old definition of marriage.” He says that amendment 26 is not discriminatory in this context.
Jim Eadie MSP disagrees with amendment 1.
“Speaking as someone who is both gay and adopted,” he calls the amendment discriminatory and unnecessary.
“The best interests of the child” should be the paramount consideration of adoption agencies, he says.
Margaret Mitchell speaks in support of amendment 26, which she says “seeks to ensure the rights to freedom of speech” for religious groups and others against same-sex marriage.
She says there is an “over-zealous, politically correct” tone to the legislation.
She reminds the chamber that Richard Lyle’s amendment has already been discussed previously.
She says “belief in traditional marriage is not an issue.”
Jackie Bailie MSP says she is “totally opposed” to amendment 30, which she calls a wrecking amendment.
She says it “raises questions” about the status of other beliefs.
Amendment 2 put forward for protecting charitable organisations’ views against same-sex marriages.
Richard Lyle MSP puts forward amendment 1 for protecting foster carers’ opposition to same-sex marriage.
“You have to experience adopting a child to understand what couples go through.”
Moving on from amendment 30, Siobhan McHanon MSP puts forward amendment 3 to “eliminate discrimination” against religious institutions who “express the existing view of traditional marriage.”
The proposed amendment is for people to express opposition to equal marriage “without fear.”
Because people who oppose marriage equality are a discriminated minority.
“If I believe everything I read on facebook, there are going to be thousands of people debating against me next election,” he says.
John Mason MSP introduces the amendment regarding the “minority view” that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.
He says there is a “distinct lack of respect” for people who oppose same-sex marriage.
The final result is Not Agreed.
Voting begins on amendment 25.
“Not agreed” on amendment 25.
- 5 minute suspension commences.
John Mason says Jackie Bailie’s remark that the bill is “not necessary” will be echoed later, although he suggests that the role of religious freedom is still in a “grey area.”
Alex Neil MSP: “I do not think there is a need to borrow terminology from the UK act.”
He says the bill already does not provide a “duty” to opt in.
“The amendment proposed today could actually cause confusion.”
Chic Brodie MSP says the “circle” of religious freedom must be “squared” in the bill.
MSP Patrick Harvie accuses John Mason of moving away from “religious freedom,” by only focusing on the ‘opting out’ aspect of freedom.
“There needs to be the liberty to say yes as well as no.”
The Equality Network has described the amendment as “unnecessary,” she reminds the parliament.
Jackie Baillie MSP calls for more clarification on the proposed amendment.
Marco Biagi MSP says that one of the key concerns is whether there are any means under human rights regulations whether a church could be forced to carry out same-sex marriages.
He outlines the difference between the Church of England and the Church of Scotland.
“At a certain level, the church of england has a public function.”
In Scotland, the church has never been a part of the state, he says.
“I accept that the government has built in safeguards on what has been a very controversial issue. However, I would argue that there should be some improvements.”
He says amendment 25 is based on an amendment accepted by England and Wales parliament.
The amendment is supposed to give protection for “religious liberty.” (No one should be “compelled” to administer same-sex marriages against their beliefs)
Amendment 25 before John Mason MSP called to the floor.
Proceedings for the equal marriage bill are now outlined before the Scottish parliament.
Topical Questions begins.
Stage 3 proceedings on the marriage bill should begin at 2:20pm
The Marriage and Civil Partnerships bill is being introduced to the floor.
Check back here from 2pm for live updates on the Scottish Parliament’s final debate on the Marriage and Civil Partnerships Bill!