The Scottish cabinet on Tuesday is
scheduled to discuss plans to legalize gay marriage after holding a
consultation on the issue. Over 80,000 people participated in the
Gay marriage supporters are hopeful
that the government will announce it backs such legislation, but
there remains the possibility that ministers may delay the changes as
opposition from religious groups mounts. The Catholic Church and the
Church of Scotland strongly oppose gay nuptials.
Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Britain's most
senior Roman Catholic, has described the plans as a “grotesque
subversion of a universally accepted human right.”
Religious groups are urging the
Scottish government to hold a referendum on the issue.
“[A referendum is] against the core
principles of Scotland's representative democracy,” said gay
rights advocate The Equality Network.
“If there was a nationwide
referendum, conducted fairly, we are sure that Scots would vote for
equality for same-sex couples,” added Tom French, the group's
policy coordinator. “But that is not the way Scottish democracy
The issue of marriage equality is a
priority for the Scottish National Party (SNP), whose leaders pledged
to legalize the institution if elected.
Scotland currently recognizes the
relationships of gay and lesbian couples with civil partnerships.
Britain and Wales are also debating the