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Scottish marriage

January 2014

Nearly every member of the Scottish parliament has voted in favour of redefining marriage as the Scotland Marriage Bill gains traction.

      In November, 98 voted for during the key stage one vote, with only 15 against and five abstentions.

      Those known to have voted against have had to deal with a hostile backlash from supporters of the bill. According to reports from Care, Elaine Smith Labour MSP said, ‘Since indicating that I did not intend to support the redefinition of marriage, it was suggested that I be burnt at the stake as a witch’.

      The Bill is now in the Committee Stage where the details of the bill will be decided. Celia Bowring, operations director of charity Care, said, ‘It is disappointing that it will inevitably become legal in Scotland for same-sex couples to marry.

      ‘However we are hopeful that the law will give better protection to the rights of those church leaders, public servants, chaplains, teachers and others who are opposed to this move.

      ‘This is because, of the seven Committee members, four MSPs support same-sex marriage, two do not and one abstained from the vote.  

      ‘So potentially there is a much stronger dissenting voice compared with the parallel Committee at Westminster last year’.

      Already concerns have been expressed that, should the bill be passed into law in its present form, employees, especially those in the public sector, could be marginalised because of their beliefs about marriage.

      Care is also calling on supporters to ask their MSPs to protect those in education from being forced to either teach things against their religious beliefs or lose their livelihood, and to protect charities from being treated prejudicially because of their views on marriage.

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