The Scottish Labour Party says “the time is now” to consult on “options” for radically redefining marriage to allow homosexual couples to marry.
The Scottish Liberal Democrats have given their full support to homosexual marriage. In addition, the party wants to allow heterosexual civil partnerships.
Both parties have made the controversial commitments in their official manifestos, launched ahead of Scottish Parliamentary elections on 5 May.
The position of the Scottish Conservatives on same-sex marriage is unknown. The Scottish National Party says Holyrood doesn’t have the power to change the law, but others dispute this.
If marriage is redefined in Scotland, there will be pressure to enforce the redefinition throughout the UK.
The Christian Institute has produced a briefing on the issue, arguing for retaining the definition of marriage as the lifelong union of one man to one woman.
Last year the Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond said he didn’t think the Scottish Parliament would be able to change the law.
He said: “Currently no party in Scotland is able to legislate for same-sex marriage in Scotland without the permission of Westminster, due to the impact on laws covering immigration, pensions, inheritance tax and other areas where London still holds the power.”
However, campaigners such as those at the Equality Commission or the Equality Network reject this argument and are demanding that Holyrood leads the way and legalises homosexual marriage.
The UK Government has committed itself to a consultation on same-sex marriage. It is, separately, consulting on whether to allow homosexual civil partnerships to be registered in churches in England and Wales.
Homosexual activists have admitted that changing the legal definition of marriage to allow same-sex couples to marry, and allowing heterosexual couples to enter civil partnerships, could cost the taxpayer £5bn to implement.
The UK Labour leader, Ed Miliband, strongly supports redefining marriage to allow homosexual couples to obtain the same certificate as married people.
The Scottish Labour manifesto states: “the time is now right to consult on options to provide genuine equality for same-sex couples and their families, by addressing the different status of civil partnership and marriage.
“We are clear – Scotland shouldn’t be left behind on these issues.”
The taxpayer-funded Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland has taken a partisan line by calling on the next Scottish Government to alter the law on marriage.
The Parliamentary Officer for the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland slammed the commission for taking sides on such a politically sensitive matter.
The Guardian’s Michael White expressed concern about same-sex marriage, saying that heterosexual marriage is distinct because it “is there to produce and raise children in a more or less stable environment”.
Critics are also concerned about the implications for schools if marriage is redefined.
The homosexual activist group, Stonewall, has already sent a teacher training pack to primary schools urging schools to use story books pushing same-sex marriage.
One book, King and King, is about two princes that marry. As well as being read to a class, Stonewall advocates that children perform the story as a school play.
The group also urges schools to allow boys to wear frocks and to teach children to be resilient to the values of their parents and grandparents.