Friday, November 08, 2013
This was posted a few moments ago to the Facebook page of The Scottish Secular Society. Thanks to John Hein.
From: Scottish Parliament Tel 0131 348 6265
UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL 00.01 FRIDAY 8 NOVEMBER 2013
8 November 2013
Marriage Bill supported by majority of Committee at Stage 1
The general principles of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill are supported by the majority of members on the Equal Opportunities Committee in its Stage 1 report published today.
A minority of the Committeeâ€™s members do not support the Bill because they disagree in principle or because they are not convinced that the Bill currently has adequate protections in place.
Committee Convener Margaret McCulloch MSP said:
â€œAll of us on the Committee recognise the validity, depth and sincerity of all views submitted to us on what has clearly been an emotive issue for all of our stakeholders.
â€œWhile the majority of our Committee supports the general principles of this Bill, we wholeheartedly support the right of all members of the Scottish Parliament to vote on the Bill as a matter of conscience.â€
The Committee has asked the Scottish Government for consideration on a number of issues including:
* Stakeholders varying views on the approach taken in the Bill on protecting celebrants of faith and religious organisationsâ€™ freedom to conduct legally valid marriages in keeping with their doctrines.
* An amendment raised by the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities to redefine non-civil marriages, to more prominently reflect the distinction between religious ceremonies and belief ceremonies.
* An opinion expressed by the Humanist Society Scotland that the treatment in marriage law of the Church of Scotland affords it a privileged status.
* The spousal consent to be removed from the gender-recognition process.
The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill was introduced in the Parliament on 26 June 2013 and covers the following key matters relating to marriage law: the introduction of same-sex marriage; putting belief celebrants on the same footing as religious celebrants; the arrangements for authorising celebrants to solemnise opposite-sex and same-sex marriage; civil partnerships changing to marriage; the authorisation of Church of Scotland deacons to solemnise opposite-sex marriage and allowing civil marriage ceremonies in any place agreed between the couple and the registrar, other than religious premises.
The Stage 1 debate on The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill will take place in November.