Bill to redefine marriage unveiled in Scotland

The Bill to redefine marriage in Scotland has been published, but a group opposed to the legislation warned it could lead to people being penalised for holding traditional beliefs.

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill would bring in same-sex marriage and religious civil partnerships.

But Scotland for Marriage, which is campaigning against the plans, cautioned that “safeguards and law changes” were needed to protect people who support traditional marriage.

Promise

A spokesman said: “The Scottish Government pledged to protect free speech and other civil liberties but they have not fulfilled their promises.”

Noting that it would continue its “concerted opposition” to the plans, the spokesman continued: “In coming months we will tell voters the facts, including what redefining marriage means for people’s jobs, lives and families.

“Teachers, parents, school kids, foster carers, NHS chaplains and others in everyday life must not be penalised for backing traditional marriage.

Under fire

“We have warned for more than a year that safeguards and law changes are required to do this – but our views have been ignored so far.”

Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell warned: “I think it is now the rights of people who believe in marriage that are under fire and in danger.”

She said she supported civil partnerships, but didn’t see “any need or necessity for same sex marriage”.

Court

And John Mason MSP warned that despite assurances on protections for those who disagree with same-sex marriage, he was not sure whether they could be guaranteed.

“I don’t think any government would want to see ministers or priests dragged through the courts for upholding their personal beliefs in accordance with their faith”, he said.

Alex Neil, the Scottish Government Minister in charge of the Bill, commented: “A marriage is about love, not gender. And that is the guiding principle at the heart of this Bill.”

Religion

“At the same time, we also want to protect freedom of speech and religion, and that’s what the Bill sets out to do.

“That is why it will be up to the religious body or individual celebrant to decide if they want to perform same sex marriages and there will be no obligation to opt in”.

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