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Scottish same-sex marriage debate needs to focus on fairness and equality

August 5, 2011 11:51 AM
Willie Rennie

Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie MSP

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has tabled an amendment to SNP MSP John Mason's motion on the Equal Marriage debate.

Mr Rennie is concerned that Mr Mason's motion skews the debate surrounding equal marriage in an extremely negative and unhelpful way. Mr Mason has expressed the bizarre view that somehow organisations will be forced into being involved in same sex marriage. Instead Mr Rennie wants to see the discussion focussed on how we can best ensure that any religious organisations, who wish to celebrate same sex marriage, can be free to do so.

Scottish Liberal Democrats, in common with LGBT Lib Dems and the party as a whole, fully support extending legal marriage to same-sex couples. It is party policy that there should be no gender restrictions on either marriage or civil partnerships.

Commenting, Willie Rennie said, "Mr Mason's motion adds nothing to the debate on extending marriage to same sex couples in Scotland. All it does is serves to emphasise again the prejudices and intolerance that still exists in Scotland surrounding same sex marriage.

"His bizarre and unnecessary claim that organisations should not be forced into marrying same-sex couples misses the whole point of the discussion. Instead we need to be focusing on how we can ensure that those who wish to celebrate same sex marriage are free to do so in a fair and progressive Scotland.

"We believe that anyone who wishes to get married in Scotland should have that right to do so. We will be making strong representations during the Scottish Government's public consultation on the issue so that our ambition, that Scotland is one of the most fair and equal places in the world, can be realised."

Willie Rennie's amendment reads:

"That the Parliament notes the current discussion about same-sex marriages and looks forward to the Scottish Government's forthcoming public consultation concerning equal marriage; aspires for Scotland to be one of the most fair and equal places in the world; supports the extension of legal marriage to lesbian and gay couples; and believes that, while there would be no mandate on religious organisations, those religious denominations who wish to celebrate marriages for lesbian and gay people should be free to do so."