More than 14 religious leaders on
Wednesday welcomed the Scottish government's introduction of a draft
gay marriage bill.
The government unveiled its proposal,
titled Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill, and opened a
consultation on its implementation. After the close of the public
consultation in March, the government will deliver a final version to
the Scottish parliament, where a vote is expected sometime near the
end of 2013.
The plan endorses allowing gay and
lesbian couples to marry in a church and other religious premises.
Religious organizations would need to “opt in” to perform such
“Today Scotland has taken a huge step
forward towards full equality for LGBT people,” Tom French, policy
coordinator for the Equality Network, is quoted as saying by Gay
Star News. “Equally religious bodies would have the freedom to
choose for themselves whether to conduct same-sex marriages.
Currently all religious bodies are wrongly banned from doing so
regardless of their beliefs.”
“These proposals are fair and
progressive, and as a result we expect the final legislation to get
the backing of a clear majority in parliament.”
More than 14 Scottish religious leaders
welcomed the proposed legislation.
“Scottish Unitarians warmly welcome
the draft bill and its provisions to allow religious bodies to
conduct same-sex marriages,” said the Rev. Maud Robinson, a
Unitarian minister from Edinburgh.
The United Reformed Church, the
Quakers, Episcopalians and Liberal Jews are also supportive.
The Roman Catholic Church and the
Church of Scotland oppose the government's plans.
“The Catholic Church has made its
view very clear that the redefinition of marriage is unwise and
unnecessary,” said Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, president of the
Bishops' Conference of Scotland.