26 Jul 2012

Scotland gives green light to same-sex marriage

2:45 pm on 26 July 2012

The Scottish government is to allow same sex couples to marry. It says legalising gay marriage is the right thing to do and a bill will be brought forward to allow the first one to take place in 2015.

If the bill becomes law as expected, Scotland could be the first part of the United Kingdom to introduce gay marriage, though similar plans are in train in England and Wales.

Political leaders, equality organisations and some faith groups have welcomed introducing the move, but it is strongly opposed by the Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church, which says the government is embarking on a dangerous social experiment.

The announcement was made in the wake of a government consultation that drew a record 77,508 responses.

Same-sex couples in Scotland currently have the option of entering into civil partnerships and the Scottish National Party government has insisted no part of the religious community will be forced to hold same-sex weddings in churches.

"We are committed to a Scotland that is fair and equal," saysdeputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon, "and that is why we intend to proceed with plans to allow same-sex marriage and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships - we believe that this is the right thing to do."