Scottish government to reveal marriage decision in two weeks
The Scottish government has confirmed it will announce its decision on whether or not to legalise gay marriages on 10 July.
Cabinet ministers will meet in Edinburgh and announce whether the government will propose a change in the law that would allow gay and straight couples equal access to marriage.
Scotland’s public consultation closed in December with over 50,000 responses, making it the largest such consultation of its kind.
The government has previously delayed the publication of the results of the consultation once and was subsequently expected to have published in June.
Although it is believed equal marriage opponents were able to mobilise more negative responses than marriage proponents, equal marriage enjoys consistent majority support in Scottish polls.
An Ipsos-MORI poll earlier this month revealed that 64 percent of Scots supported equal marriage, with only 26 percent remaining opposed. 68 percent believe that religious organisations should be given the right to marry gay couples, if they want to, with only 21 percent opposed.
The poll also found that the support increased significantly among women and younger people (below 55 years of age), with 70 percent of the former, and 76 percent of the latter favouring a change in the law.
Tom French, Policy Coordinator for the Equality Network, said: “Supporters of equality will be disappointed that a decision on equal marriage has been delayed again. There is clear support for equal marriage across the country and in the Scottish Parliament, so we are now calling on the Scottish Government to stick by their principles, and bring forward legislation.”
Earlier this month the Equality Network announced that a majority of MSPs had now signed its Equal Marriage Pledge, committing themselves to voting in favour of same-sex marriage. 74 MSPs have now said they will vote in favour, with 9 remaining opposed.
Willie Rennie MSP, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats said: “After delaying the decision in March and the First Minister assuring me it would be made in June, perhaps it is third time’s a charm with the Scottish government on equal marriage. The majority of MSPs support it, the majority of the Scottish public support it, it is time that the Scottish government began legislating for Equal marriage without further delay.”
Patrick Harvie MSP, Leader of the Scottish Green Party said those who wanted to treat gay couples as “second class citizens” are “in the wrong, and in the minority”.
Marco Biagi, an MSP with the ruling SNP, said the “hotly anticipated bill on equal marriage is worthy of speedy introduction and will undoubtedly now receive widespread backing from both public and Parliament”.