The day after the UK Government announced plans to legislate on same-sex marriage the Scottish Government has published a draft bill on the issue.
Like that outlined at Westminster, the Holyrood legislation would give homosexual couples the right to marry, but allow churches and individual celebrants the right to opt out.
The draft legislation also includes provisions to remove the requirement for a married or civil partnered transgender person to divorce before obtaining full Gender Recognition and will allow civil marriages to take place anywhere a couple and their registrar choose.
With a majority of MSP’s having already pledged their support to the bill it looks likely to pass in parliament with relative ease when brought forward next year. The main opposition to the bill has come from Conservative MSP’s - seven out of the ten of those declaring they are against same-sex marriage are Tories. This is in conflict with Prime Minister David Cameron who is trying to shed his party of its anti-Gay image.
Those campaigning for the law have welcomed the step forward taken by Westminster yesterday and the publication of this draft bill in Scotland.
Tom French, Policy Coordinator for the Equality Network, said:
James Morton, Coordinator of Scottish Transgender Alliance, said:
Meanwhile the Church of Scotland and Catholic Church in Scotland are still strongly oppose the move describing same-sex marriage as neither civilised, natural or legitimate. The leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland Cardinal Keith O’Brien has previously declared the legislation as a "grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right".
He believes that the legal rights of marriage are already extended to same-sex couples in civil partnerships and that this legislation would completely redefine the institution of marriage that is widely accepted by society.
Despite this vociferous opposition, opinion polls suggest the public is largely on the side of the Scottish Government in supporting same-sex marriage and it is does look like gay couples will soon be allowed to marry in churches across Scotland.