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Could Scotland be the next country to legalize marriage equality?

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

This weekend, the Scottish newspaper Scotland on Sunday reported that a majority of MSPs (Members of the Scottish Parliament) have committed to vote to bring marriage equality to the country if legislation is introduced by the government.  Scotland has 129 MSPs, and 69 of those lawmakers are now on the record in support of equal marriage rights.

The British government at Westminster has recently been exploring the possibility of bringing marriage equality to the United Kingdom, with Prime Minister David Cameron and the Liberal Democrat party expressing a desire to provide marriage rights to gay couples by the next election.  Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, has said in that past that his Scottish National Party-led government was “inclined” to introduce marriage equality legislation regardless of developments at Westminster.

Such a move is not without some controversy: Scotland will face a 2014 independence referendum, and some SNP members are worried that marriage legislation could lose the party votes in the referendum, especially because of strong objections to marriage equality from the Church of Scotland.  The survey of MSPs support, however, shows that sentiment amongst politicians for delaying a marriage vote is probably not a prevailing opinion.

In terms of moving forward, the Scottish marriage equality group Equality Network has two options.  It can wait for the SNP-led government to introduce a marriage equality bill, or it can push for what is called a ‘Private Members Bill’ if the government doesn’t take action.  Given the results reported by Scotland on Sunday, it would appear that a Private Members Bill would pass even without the explicit support of the government.

Support for marriage equality cuts across the Scottish parliament’s parties, with 25 of 27 Labour members, all five Liberal Democrat members and both Greens members expressing support.  Within the Conservative delegation, support is much lower: only two out of 15 MSPs have expressed support for equal marriage rights.  Still, only nine MSPs have expressed open opposition to the proposal, while 60 members have not made their views on marriage equality public.

18 Comments

  • 1. Mark  |  June 12, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Well Scotland is a shoe in. The men there already where [dresses].

  • 2. Mark  |  June 12, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Oops, wear…

  • 3. Sagesse  |  June 12, 2012 at 10:04 am

    @

  • 4. coolbanker  |  June 12, 2012 at 10:11 am

    It was a joke, BTW…

  • 5. Steve  |  June 12, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Wait, I know that Scotland and England are autonomous, but I thought the marriage equality proposal was for the whole UK? Not just its individual countries. What about Wales and Northern Ireland?

  • 6. Steve  |  June 12, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Btw, the Scottish Conservative Party is led by a lesbian: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Davidson

    Something that could never happen in the US

  • 7. Malisa  |  June 12, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    If Scotland does, then it will impact a large part of Europe too.<img src=http://www.mobilediscount.info/ikea/ssi.jpg> <img src=http://www.mobilediscount.info/xbox/xs.jpg>

  • 8. EricKoszyk  |  June 12, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Does anyone have any updates on France? I know that the new president and his Socialist Party are pro marriage equality and that his party did really well in the first round of parliamentarian elections last weekend, so could there soon be a move towards marriage equality in France?

    That would be a huge deal since France is the fifth largest economy on the planet.

  • 9. Kevin  |  June 12, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    The second round of legislative elections is still upcoming. France doesn't vote for its President and elected representatives at the same time.

  • 10. Steve  |  June 12, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    He promised to get it done by fall

  • 11. Straight Dave  |  June 12, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    There's a separate effort driven from parliament in London to cover the entire UK. But they appear to be unnecessarily dawdling, talking about "by 2015" even though the major parties, including the convervative PM Cameron are supportive. Fortunately, Scotland has the leeway to handle this on their own at a quicker pace. There's no such thing as a federal DOMA there to muck things up for the Scots.

  • 12. pat  |  June 12, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Francois Hollande promised to tackle the issue starting this winter, with the plan to get the law voted in first half of 2013. The Minister in charge of this issue already confirmed that the government is taking this very seriously.

    Regarding the parliament elections, the second round is indeed held this Sunday, but all projections indicate that the left-wing parties (Socialist Party, Ecologists, etc.) should total more than half of the 577 seats. It may even be that the Socialist Party itself wins a majority and might therefore not even need to deal with it's left-wing partners.
    In conclusion: it's looking very good in France! And would indeed have a much bigger impact in Europe than "just" Scotland, since France would certainly trigger Germany to complete its evolution, Switzerland to finally seriously start considering the issue etc.

  • 13. Could Scotland be the nex&hellip  |  June 12, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    […] and 69 of those lawmakers are now on the Record in support […] You may view the latest post at http://www.prop8trialtracker.com/2012/06/12/could-scotland-be-the-next-country-to-legalize-marriage-… Rate this:Share this:EmailTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Posted by […]

  • 14. _BK_  |  June 12, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    I am very surprised that Switzerland has not yet done much with this issue as of yet. At least, I have heard no news of it.

  • 15. Pat  |  June 13, 2012 at 1:21 am

    Switzerland tends to always be a little behind on social issues. It granted women the right to vote very late on a national level. France first passed its law banning smoking in public places and Switzerland followed a few years later only.
    France passed its registered partnership law ("PACS") and Switzerland followed a few years later. Note that, however, Switzerland was the first nation to pass a same-sex union law by referendum (was accepted with 58% of voters in 2005).
    Public opinion is probably there on marriage, but it will take France to enact marriage equality first in order for the issue to even come on the Swiss political radar…

  • 16. Mike in Baltimore  |  June 17, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    http://world.time.com/2012/06/17/french-socialist

  • 17. clareflourish  |  July 5, 2012 at 12:44 am

    I wore a kilt when I presented male. There is nothing feminine about a kilt. Or a phillamore, for that matter.

    The key difference in the UK proposals which stops it being equal marriage is the prohibition on it being celebrated in church. The law would probably have to allow churches to refuse, but it should not forbid those churches which wish to celebrate marriages from celebrating them.

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