Scotland to Legalize Gay Marriage July 26, 2012

Scotland to Legalize Gay Marriage

A big congratulations goes to Scotland!

If all legislation goes as planned, Scotland will be the first part of the United Kingdom to legalize same sex marriage!


According to Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon:

We are committed to a Scotland that is fair and equal and that is why we intend to proceed with plans to allow same-sex marriage and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships. We believe that this is the right thing to do.

Interestingly, although unsurprisingly, this plan has opposition from not only the Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland, but two-thirds of the Scottish population.  Good for Scotland, standing up for what’s right even when it’s unpopular.  I hope some American legislators take note.

I took this picture over Loch Ness when I was there in 2006. It seems fitting today!

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  • “opposition from not only the Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland, but two-thirds of the Scottish population”

    Not really. There was a consultation, and two thirds of the responses, by number, were against, but that’s not really the whole truth. CIF has a nice review of the data here:

  • Dan

    Jessica, as Ewan points out, those 2/3 against figures are very flawed due to meddling by the Catholic Church. If you actually looks at opinion polling, not the pre-printed Catholic postcards received by the government, usually the Scots support gay marriage (around 65% for, and 35% against). This Guardian article has more details:

  • Stev84

    They’ll take their sweet time though. It won’t happen until 2014

  • 3lemenope

    Interestingly, although unsurprisingly, this plan has opposition from not only the Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland…

    I really have to say I’m surprised the Presbyterians actually give a damn. That’s usually not their style.

  • Dan

     Guess I should have clicked on Ewan’s link, they are the same.

  • Back in the day, I stayed at the youth hostel at Loch Ness and had the crappiest shower ever — cold water which I had to shove coins into.  I also shared a room with a guy from Edinburgh who I only understood 33% of the time. Nice weather  though, and a beautiful country.

  • Ronlawhouston

    Hmm, but if they are married and gay will they be true Scotsmen?

  • Dj Newtonrudd

    Hi there.
    I’d just like to point out that the photo of the two guys above was from a Civil Union I attended in NEW ZEALAND in 2005, and I’m not sure that the two guys in it would appreciate your use of it if you haven’t obtained their permission – they’re now divorced.

  • Robster

    Jees, you’d think the team with an all powerful deity on side would have no difficulty winning this wee battle. Once again, the imaginary god thing  thay all love and worship has been shown to be about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike.

  • Hibernia86

    Well it makes sense. Even the most macho men where skirts over there.

  • Gordon Duffy

    Actually it depends what numbers you look at. The anti-marriage brigade organised a huge campaign to reply to the Scottish Government conultation. I would not be suprised if *every* person against Equal Marriage took part in the consultation,

    but other polling shows a clear majority of Scots in favour of allowing Same Sex Marriages.

    I was so worried the Bishops would force their agenda through, and I’m proud of the Scottish Government for doing the right thing. 

  • Tim

    That is parlimentary process for you.  It sucks if you are waiting to get married, but it is important that this is done carefully and openly so that when equality is achived it is legally watertight and noone can say that it was rushed through.

    Good news South of the boarder too.  The UK Prime-minster has personally committed to marriage equality in England and Wales by 2015.   The usual suspects are foaming at the mouth which is not achieving much except making them look like bigots.

    This is developing into a bit of a competition between the Scots and the English as to which country is the more progressive.  It looks like the Scots will win by a nose which hurts my pride somewhat as an Englishman, but a bit of competition on this issue has been good for both countries. 

    The question is, for the year when same-sex marriage is legal in Scotland but not England, will we see couples eloping to Gretna Green like in the olden days? 

  • How about this for a bit of music and dance to celebrate:

  • keddaw

    Just to be clear, the UK (including Scotland) has civil unions which have virtually all the rights marriage has.  It’s not like we’ve just decided to overcome bigotry* in the last few months.

    Many people are against gay marriage not because they have any issues with gay people or their rights but because there is a legitimate fear that the next step will be forcing churches to perform gay ceremonies against their teachings/will.  At that point I jump the fence and stand with the ‘bigots’.

    *Sectarian bigotry is alive and well.

  • DaveS66

    Go Scotland!  I always did like a man in a kilt! 🙂

  • phantomreader42

    No, that fear is not “legitimate”, it’s just yet another in a long string of lies from the bigots.

  • Michael

    Why would they think that though? Churches are free to not marry any couple they choose.

  • Stev84

    Nothing legitimate about it. It’s just hysterical fear mongering. Catholics aren’t forced to marry divorced couples and Jews aren’t forced to perform interfaith marriages for example. And that without any specific law. This isn’t going to change anything.

  • Erpease

     Strictly speaking an ‘established’ church, one controlled by the state, could have that fear.  In previous similar cases the Church of England, which is established, the clergy is legally exempt from marrying divorced couples or marrying a couple where the bride is the groom’s dead brother’s widow or dead wife’s sister though they are required to marry other couples legally eligible to marry residing in the parish (even if they aren’t Christian).   The Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church are not established so can’t have a justified fear.  

    The Church of England’s great fear is that there are plenty of clergy within it who are perfectly willing to marry same-sex couples if it is legal and due to the structure of the church it could be difficult for the church to prohibit or punish some of them (this may go double for the Church of Scotland though not the Catholic Church which is quite capable of stopping priests [or kicking them out]).

  • Forrest Cahoon

     I thought you were supposed to marry your dead brother’s widow; isn’t that in Deuteronomy? I’m so confused.

  • keddaw

    The fear is legitimate, whether it’s justified is another thing.

    Micheal: “Churches are free to not marry any couple they choose.”
    And that’s the point – at present only straight couples can get married.

    There are some groups pushing for churches to be forced to marry gay people, whether they’re a fringe group or not is not something I’ve looked into, but the argument is fairly sound: under equality laws anyone offering a service must do so regardless of age, race, disability or sexuality (paraphrase).  So churches offer their service (location for state sanctioned marriage – as well as the sacrament) for a fee and so would be breaking this (EU) law by excluding gay people from using their service – but not by refusing to give them the sacrament.  Also there may be a push by, or on, the state to cease discrimination as all public services should be made available to all people at all locations – either the churches must marry anyone legally allowed to be married or they have their ability to legally marry people taken away (which sounds good to me!).

    I know this one is Fox, but still…


    While Denmark doesn’t force other churches, or any particular clergy, to perform marriages, the state church must offer it.

  • Dan

    The EU also doesn’t allow discrimination based on religion, but that doesn’t mean churches are forced to marry interfaith couples, or couples outside their denomination, so I fail to see how EU anti-discrimination laws could be used to force churches to marry people.

    And as much as I am for religious freedom, I wouldn’t have a problem with official state churches being forced to perform marriages. If they want the official stamp of the state, and all the privilage and money that comes with it, than they would have to abide by state laws. If they want to function independently they should petition to be de-certified as the official church. If humanism was the official state-sponsored ‘church’ of a country than I would oppose humanists discriminating against non-humanists in marriage ceremonies 

  • nazgul12

    good for Scotland! if someone has found someone who will love them for who they are, they should have the right to marry that person if they choose…same sex or not. Religious people, stop trying to use your religions to take away other people’s rights 

  • keddaw

     This hasn’t been challenged in EU law as far as I’m aware, but it would be an interesting case – discrimination vs. religious freedom (to discriminate).

    No-one really pushes for it as they can be married in their own faith or in a secular(-ish) state ceremony, so they’re not being denied marriage, merely the sacrament and place of their choosing, which should really push them away from that faith anyway.

  • Craig Nicol

    Here’s an interesting thing for Americans to ponder : one of the biggest sponsors of the party who are introducing this legislation is a notorious religious homophobe –

    It’s great to be in Scotland, which is also one of the few countries to offer legally binding humanist weddings. But this will be a noisy fight : the opposing churches are complaining about losing their religious freedom, whilst the Quakers and many other religions are queuing up to offer gay weddings.

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