Salmond breaks protection promises in gay marriage Bill

Alex Salmond has broken his promise to protect civil liberties in his same-sex marriage Bill, campaigners say.

The Scottish First Minister made assurances to traditional marriage supporters that the draft Bill, which was published on Wednesday, would provide protections for freedom of speech and conscience.

Scotland for Marriage, a group campaigning against the redefinition plans, says that although there has been “some movement” on freedom of speech, key concerns have been ignored.

Guarantee

Mr Salmond said he would “entrench” and “make sure” the rights of freedom of speech are “inviolate”. He said he would guarantee protections in areas such as education.

But most of the protections that have been offered are in guidelines rather than legislation, which campaigners say is not what was promised.

A spokesman for Scotland for Marriage said, “for Alex Salmond to keep his word and protect the civil liberties of traditional marriage supporters, legal protections have to go beyond churches and marriage celebrants.

Penalised

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

“The Scottish Government promised to protect free speech and other civil liberties, including in schools.

“But now they are shamefully backtracking on promises made to the public. And the voters won’t stand for it.”

Legislation

The same-sex marriage consultation paper says, “the Government does not consider that such amendments should be made to employment legislation”.

The Scottish Government is running a consultation on its Bill which runs until March 2013.

Scotland for Marriage is a campaign to support marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and currently more than 35,000 have signed its petition to retain the current definition of marriage in Scotland.

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