The SNP has pledged to consult on same-sex marriage, it was announced yesterday.
The party made the pledge in the ‘Wellbeing’ section of its manifesto for the Scottish Parliamentary elections, which are to be held on 5 May.
The move comes just days after the Scottish Labour Party announced it would consult on ‘options’ regarding same-sex marriage and the Scottish LibDems announced their full support for it.
Under the heading ‘A more equal Scotland’, the SNP’s manifesto states: “Scotland can never be considered truly successful until all of its citizens consider themselves to be equally valued members of society.
“We are determined that Scotland will constantly strive to be a more equal society”, the party stated.
“We recognise the range of views on the questions of same-sex marriage and registration of civil partnership.
“We will therefore begin a process of consultation and discussion on these issues.”
The Scottish Conservatives have already released their manifesto but it is silent on the question of same-sex marriage.
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.
Explaining his position at the time, 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.
And the taxpayer-funded Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland took a partisan line last month 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.
And The Guardian’s Michael White has 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 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 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 resist the values of their parents and grandparents.