Thursday, 17 March 2011

EHRC recommends changes to Marriage law in Scotland

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (Scotland) has issued this press release: New Scottish Government called upon to address Equal Marriage for same sex couples.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission Scotland today launched a new report calling for access to equal marriage for same sex couples in Scotland. The report is a result of a symposium recently held by the Commission to investigate perceived barriers to equal marriage and suggest ways forward for legislators.

Scotland currently has a segregated family law system in which marriage is available only to mixed-sex couples, and civil partnership only to same-sex couples.

In England and Wales, the UK Government has announced public consultations on proposals to hold civil partnerships on religious premises and to open up civil marriage to same-sex couples and civil partnership to mixed-sex couples. However, because marriage and civil partnership are devolved issues, these proposals apply to England and Wales only.

The report calls upon the Scottish Government to consider these disparities and to take steps to bring about equal access to marriage in Scotland. The evidence and research contained within the report aims to inform their deliberations…

The EHRC report is available here: Equal Access to Marriage: Ending the segregation of same-sex couples and transgender people in Scotland. (PDF)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 17 March 2011 at 12:45pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: equality legislation
Comments

Scotland has a long cultural, intellectual and legal tradition, and history of independent and creative thought and action.


Wonderful to read this fresh approach to common our life.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Thursday, 17 March 2011 at 1:40pm GMT

Yes please, equal marriage.

Posted by: Rosemary Hannah on Thursday, 17 March 2011 at 1:51pm GMT

I very much welcome this intervention. In particular I welcome the recommendation about religious groupings as well as individual ministers having the ability to decline participation which I think is the correct way to proceed.

Posted by: Craig Nelson on Thursday, 17 March 2011 at 4:50pm GMT

Incredible..when you consider that Scotland has negative population growth.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Thursday, 17 March 2011 at 9:32pm GMT

"Scots Wha hae wi Wallace bled!"

The Scots do seem to be following the path of Inclusivity in the civil sphere. Let's hope the Episcopal Church in Scotland quickly grasps the nettle (thistle?) and clears the way for an hospitable reception for same-sex couples to be recognised in am appropriate religious ceremony to suit the occasion of 'Two people who Love one another, and want to share that Love together for the rest of their lives'

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 17 March 2011 at 10:20pm GMT

RIW:

So? You think NOT having same-sex marriage would some how correct that?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Thursday, 17 March 2011 at 11:45pm GMT

Oh WHAT are you on about, RIW? What does *marriage equality* POSSIBLY have to do w/ "negative population growth"?

You do understand that Teh Gays will be just as gay w/ or w/o equality? That marriage will actually PROMOTE child-bearing and/or child-raising by same-sex couples (perhaps adopting from abroad, if growing the Scottish population is so important)?

What's incredible, is your non-sequitur.

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 18 March 2011 at 2:52am GMT

"Incredible..when you consider that Scotland has negative population growth."

It is, indeed, an incredibly hopeful thing to see that there are still places with enough human rationality to rise above the fears and base drives of the more animalistic mind to do what is right for the broader community.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Friday, 18 March 2011 at 5:13am GMT

You imagine RIW, that if gay folk cannot marry each other, they will be so desperate to marry they suddenly decide to marry the opposite sex? Er, don't think it works like that.

Posted by: Rosemary Hannah on Friday, 18 March 2011 at 8:05am GMT

Of course if there is marriage equality then more gay people may stay in Scotland or move there and may potentially be more likely to have children but certainly no less likely to have children. I'd have thought being married makes it more likely not less to have children for both gay and straight couples.

Posted by: Craig Nelson on Friday, 18 March 2011 at 11:57am GMT

JCF, it's not a non sequitur, it's that well known detrimental effect gay relationships have on straight marriage. You watch those birth rates plummet even more as a direct consequence.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 18 March 2011 at 1:52pm GMT

Well actually Rosemary, I know many gay people who marry people of the opposite sex, most of them are clerics.

Sad. But true.

That doesn't stop Robert (who also knows lots of gay people in marriages) getting my nomination for the silliest comment of the year.

Some of his letters in the Church of England newspaper and Church Times however are very good!

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Friday, 18 March 2011 at 3:35pm GMT

RIW - Your comment is demeaning to marriage, strongly implying as it does, a one-dimensional view of marriage as nothing more than a breeding ground. This is profoundly un-Anglican, as it ignores two of the traditional three reasons for marriage: to promote faithfulness, and for mutual comfort and support. Obliquely, it also puts women in the position of being nothing more than a vessel for producing children.

Posted by: Nat on Friday, 18 March 2011 at 4:02pm GMT

As a second generation Scottish-Canadian (my dad comes from the balmacqueen MacQueen's of Skye), this is very good news. Let us pray that the Scottish Episcopal Church will celebrate and bless the marriages of all members of the Church who love one another, regardless of what +RW wants them to do.

And to RIW: Dearheart, this is 2011. Gay people can have children with a little help from science, and without resorting to painful marriages with members of the opposite sex. I regularly baptize the children of same sex couples who are members of my parish and I make sure that their children are equally welcome in our Sunday School. It's a new day, Robert. A day when persons long despised and humiliated, or merely tactfully tolerated, are finding their full humanity in Christ.

Posted by: karen macqueen+ on Saturday, 19 March 2011 at 9:33am GMT

The reasons gay clergy marry and make their spouses miserable relates to social attitudes in the church. As I too know gay people in heterosexual marriages, I know well the misery it too often breeds - but in this country I think the days of such folly are over, frankly. Even for the clergy. The point is that any gay couple can enter a civil partnership, and the petty disapproval of not granting full marriage will not in any way persuade them into the patterns of twenty years ago. It is childish to think it will.

Posted by: Rosemary Hannah on Saturday, 19 March 2011 at 11:45am GMT

If this passes and reduces our population growth in Scotland by repelling reactionary nit-wits such as RIW then I'm all for it!

Posted by: Fr Dougal on Saturday, 19 March 2011 at 4:50pm GMT

RIW: If you are going to represent a less liberal position on marriage, at least do so with thoughtfulness.

You've become blog fodder!

Posted by: David Shepherd on Sunday, 20 March 2011 at 9:36am GMT

My comment was referring to the fact that contraception has produced negative population growth in Scotland. The small Gay population of Scotland is less of a threat to national fecundity than the contracepting heterosexuals.

There are always men and women in every generation anyway who do not marry and have children. Please be less judgemental.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Sunday, 20 March 2011 at 8:48pm GMT

Yes I do agree that many of the commonly heard assertions about how equality for queer folks in nearly anything at all in modern life, inevitably will involve this or that awful detriment to straight folks, especially to married straight folks. And even more especially, to solidly traditional married straight folks in church life ... cannot be taken for granted at face value?

Seems a low, dirty view of married straight folks, generally, and an even lower view of traditional married straight folks in the local church. Being married and straight seems so abundantly qualified by its high and continuing difficulty that just a whiff of a committed queer couple next door (probably raising kids) ... or a fuzzy fish tale of how much great fun it was for some gay guy or lesbian woman to go clubbing last weekend ... threatens to bring the whole business clanging down, radioactive as Chernobyl? Just sayin...

Posted by: drdanfee on Sunday, 20 March 2011 at 11:55pm GMT

'brevity is the soul of wit', but not when it bears little relation to the substantive topic.

Posted by: David Shepherd on Monday, 21 March 2011 at 7:06am GMT

RIW got the exact reaction he wanted. I don't understand why people fall in the trap of even addressing him. You're not going to change his mind. RIW are you a Roman Catholic?

Posted by: bobinswpa on Wednesday, 23 March 2011 at 4:58pm GMT

Bob
I think everyone knows we won't change RIW's mind (who, I believe, is a former evangelical turned Roman Catholic).
That's not actually the point.
Most of the people we slug it out here with will never change their minds.
The reason for engaging is really to keep refuting their arguments, to keep showing that they're wrong and to address the silent readers who may be a lot more moderate, may not yet have made up their minds and are genuinely interested in the conversation and the various arguments that can be made.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 23 March 2011 at 7:52pm GMT

Yes I am a Catholic in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, but i am Welsh not Roman.
Reaction.. I was pointing out that the greater threat to our civilization are contracepting heterosexuals.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Wednesday, 23 March 2011 at 9:16pm GMT

oh the evils of family planning !

I am a Catholic in communion with the Society of Friends and the Church of England.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Thursday, 24 March 2011 at 7:54pm GMT
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