The Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland oppose the Scottish Government's plans to legalize church wedding for gay and lesbian couples.

Last week, the government unveiled its draft gay marriage bill, titled Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill. 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 marriages.

In response, the Church of Scotland reiterated its opposition to marriage equality.

“Unless our General Assembly decides otherwise, we cannot support the Government's proposals on celebrating civil partnerships or same sex marriage,” said the Reverend Alan Hamilton, convener of the Church of Scotland's Legal Questions Committee.

“We have also expressed concerns about the speed with which the Government is proceeding with this and what we fear will be inadequate safeguards for religious bodies and ministers and people of faith who view this as being contrary to their beliefs,” he added.

“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.

The United Reformed Church, the Quakers, Episcopalians, Unitarians and Liberal Jews 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.