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September 2, 2011

IconScotland launches gay marriage consultation

The Scottish government has launched a consultation on marriage equality and religious civil partnerships.

The consultation document makes clear that the Nationalist administration broadly favours equal marriage laws.

“We tend towards the view that religious ceremonies for civil partnerships should no longer be prohibited and that same sex marriage should be introduced so that same sex couples have the option of getting married if that is how they wish to demonstrate their commitment to each other,” stated Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in her introduction to the document.

“We also believe that no religious body or its celebrants should be required to carry out same sex marriages or civil partnership ceremonies,” she added.

Sturgeon further explained that the government wants to hear “from all sections of Scottish society,” and will be holding “face to face” meetings with “religious bodies and other key organisations”. The consultation will close on the 9th of December.

Tim Hopkins of the Equality Network welcomed the the consultation. “Now it will be really important for all supporters of equality and fairness to respond to the consultation, so that our voices are heard, and so that the Scottish government knows how important it is to legislate for equal marriage as soon as practicable,” he said.

The launch follows controversy over the SNP position on marriage equality after a number of MSPs argued that marriage should be “between a man and a woman”.

A recent survey indicated that over 60% of Scottish people support the idea of marriage equality.

A similar consultation has been delayed by the coalition government in Westminster. “We are at the early stages of this work and will be, from the autumn, looking to discuss with a range of stakeholders how this work can move forward,” said a representative from the Home Office.

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Ruth Pearce

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