By Gary Patterson
Scotland took its first step to Equal Marriage as the Scottish Parliament recently passed in principle the new proposals which would see marriage and its legal & social benefits opened up to same-sex partners.
The Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill passed with a near unanimous majority of 98 MSPs voting in favour, with 15 against, 5 abstentions, and 9 MSPs not present. Almost all local MSPs voted in favour of the proposals except Glasgow Shettleston SNP MSP John Mason voting against, Glasgow Labour MSP Hanzala Malik abstaining from the vote, and Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson failing to turn up for the vote.
Tom French, policy coordinator for the Equality Network who have spear-headed the campaign said, “Tonight the Scottish Parliament voted by an overwhelming majority to back same-sex marriage and uphold the principle that we should all be equal under the law”
“This vote is a huge step forward which will send out a strong message that LGBT people are equal and valued members of our society. While there is still more work to do to improve the bill and ensure it becomes law, LGBT people across the country will be celebrating this significant milestone in the journey towards full equality.”
Local Glasgow MSP and Scottish Greens leader Patrick Harvie said, “Enabling couples to celebrate their love and be recognised on the basis of equality will be a proud achievement for Scotland. But we should use this step forward in Scotland to highlight the backward steps being taken in many other countries.
“We’re seeing Russia bringing in oppressive new laws, and we know the vast majority of Commonwealth nations have criminal sanctions which even include the death penalty against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens. As the Commonwealth comes to Glasgow next year, we have a golden opportunity to challenge prejudice, support LGBT communities, and demonstrate the progress which can be made.”
The proposals will now move towards amendments and scrutiny before proceeding to a final vote which will see Equal Marriage formally passed into law.