Scots gay marriage Bill set to be pushed with ‘undue haste’

The SNP’s Bill to redefine marriage is to be “fast-tracked” through the Scottish Parliament, with March pencilled-in as the date for Royal Assent.

According to the Herald newspaper, MSPs will hold double evidence sessions on the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill, with early start times.

A critic of the plans warned that law made “in haste” does not provide good legislation.

No hold-ups

The Bill is set to be considered by MSPs on the Equal Opportunities Committee over the coming weeks, before being voted on by the whole Holyrood chamber.

Speaking to the Herald, a Government source said, “you can be sure that there will be no hold-ups on this”.

An editorial in the newspaper noted, “ministers now seem intent on ensuring the law reaches the statute books as soon as possible”.

Bandwagon

But John Deighan, parliamentary officer for the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, cautioned: “You can only see this as undue haste.

“It looks like a bandwagon that no-one has been minded to take in the right direction.

“They ought to remember that if you make law in haste you do not get the best legislation.”

Protect

Scotland for Marriage, which has over 50,000 supporters and opposes the change, has warned that the Bill could lead to people being penalised for holding traditional beliefs.

And ahead of a Scotland for Marriage event last week, John Mason MSP cautioned about the need for safeguards for traditional marriage supporters.

He said: “As a member of the Equal Opportunities Committee I think my main aim will be to examine what protections are in place for celebrants, denominations, public sector workers, third sector volunteers and others who do not agree with same sex marriage.”

Interfere

He added: “We have had assurances on this from both Scottish and Westminster governments but I remain far from convinced these are deliverable.”

Michael McCann MP said lessons should be learnt from the mistakes in the Westminster legislation.

And Murdo Fraser MSP said it was impossible to introduce gay marriage without “interfering with the religious liberties of those who take a contrary view”.

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