News In Focus
Fresh calls for same-sex marriage
A group called The Equal Marriage Campaign, backed by senior clergy and MSPs from across the political spectrum, has renewed calls for same sex couples to be allowed to marry, thereby breaking the final symbolic inequality between civil partners and their heterosexual, married peers.
Since the introduction of civil partnerships in 2005, same-sex couples have been able to obtain essentially the same legal rights as married couples. However, the fact that such partnerships cannot be called marriages, or be sanctified in a place of worship, is seen by many as discriminatory and arbitrary.
The issue has also been raised once again south of the border, with news that the UK Government is to consult on a change in the law. Both David Cameron and deputy Liberal Democrat leader Simon Hughes have made public statements to the effect that, with sufficient pubic support, the law could be changed to allow gay marriages relatively quickly.
However, there is an expectation among many MSPs that the Scottish Government would choose to pursue its own legislative process on the issue, unlike 2005, when it deferred responsibility for the introduction of civil partnerships to Westminster, because of the implications for tax and immigration.