Gay marriage: Civil liberty protections rejected by MSPs

MSPs considering a Bill to redefine marriage have voted down protections for public sector workers, charities and people considering adoption.

Scotland for Marriage, which supports traditional marriage, said warnings about the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill were being ignored.

The organisation said it was encouraged by the level of support the protections attracted but it was “disappointing” they were not passed.

Problems

“The warnings about problems the legislation is going to cause are not being listened to.

“The Scottish Government is in cloud cuckoo land if it doesn’t believe these changes are necessary”, said a spokesman for the group – which has over 50,000 supporters.

Scottish politicians on the Equal Opportunities Committee were debating the details of the Bill at the Scottish Parliament.

Danger

MSPs rejected, by four votes to three, a “reasonable accommodation” amendment to the Bill to protect public sector employees from being victimised over traditional marriage.

Another amendment was opposed, by the same margin, to protect the charitable status of organisations that support marriage between one man and one woman.

A further amendment, to protect adults who want to adopt or foster children, was put forward by the SNP’s Richard Lyle.

He adopted his daughter 31 years ago and said: “Should same-sex marriage become law there is a very real danger that potential foster carers and adopters may be wrongly deemed homophobic, because of their opposition to same-sex marriage”.

Injustice

He added: “I trust that all members of the committee would agree that it would be a terrible injustice for everyone concerned if otherwise suitable adopters or foster carers were turned down because of their views on marriage.

“The legislation should therefore include a clause stating that views on the nature of marriage can’t be taken into consideration during the process of approving foster carers or adoptive parents.”

But Alex Neil, the Minister in charge of the same-sex marriage Bill, said such an amendment was not necessary.

Disqualify

“It is already the case that views on same-sex marriage cannot disqualify anyone from becoming a foster carer or an adoptive parent”, he said. The amendment was defeated by four votes to three.

MSPs will vote on the Bill for a final time next year.

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