Wednesday, March 18, 2009

UPDATE: Scottish Same Sex Marriage Update from the LGBT Network

UPDATE: (March 17, 2009) Scottish Parliament Committee unanimously backs same sex marriage

The Scottish Parliament Public Petitions committee have agreed that the Scottish Government should be asked to amend the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977, and if not, details the reasons for its refusal.

Speaking in support of the petition, Shirley-Anne Sommerville said she feels that the law as it stands, is 'unfortunate' and she wishes her support to be 'put on the record'.

Marlyn Glen MSP said she wishes Scotland to take a lead in Europe, and avoid waiting on the outcome of the Ruling from the European Court of Human Rights.

Declaring membership of the Episcopal Church, Robin Harper MSP, confirmed that he agrees that the Scottish Government should be asked to state its situation on the amendment of the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977.

Speaking about a ceremony he attended, John Wilson MSP strongly feels that the Marriage legislation should 'encompass the whole of society'.

Nanette Milne MSP is 'open minded' and has 'no objection' to the Scottish Government being contacted.

Marlyn Glen MSP adds that the Equality Network should be asked for a submission of evidence.

All in all - This was a great outcome, the petition is on hold and a number of religious and non-religious groups will be asked to submit evidence. The Scottish Government will be asked to clarify its situation and will be asked if it intends to amend the legislation, if not, to explain its reasons for not amending it.

You can view the entire transcript of the committee here.

Thanks to the LGBT Network in Glasgow, Scotland.


European and Scottish political leaders, international marriage equality groups and church leaders all back same sex marriage petition.

West Midlands Labour MEP Michael Cashman today signed the petition in the Scottish Parliament calling for same sex couples to have the right to register a civil marriage, or a religious marriage should the relevant religious institution consents.


His support comes as the petition gathers momentum, attracting support from Scottish Labour MEP Catherine Stihler, London Green MEP Jean Lambert, Scottish Labour MSP George Foulkes, and the leader of the Labour Group in the European Parliament, Glenis Willmott MEP.

Support from across the world has been pouring in, as groups such as Australian Marriage Equality, Marriage Equality Ireland, and the US movement Blue4Equality all back and publicise the campaign.

Equal Marriage Rights, the group set up by Sue Wilkinson and Celia Kitzinger, litigants in the High Court same sex marriage case Wilkinson v. Kitzinger, and Peter Tatchell's OutRage! have also publicised and supported the petition.

The Reverend John Penman, from Christ Church Falkirk, and the Reverend Ruth Innes from St Marks Portobello have added their names to the petition.

The Very Reverend Kelvin Holdsworth, provost of St Marys Episcopal Church in Glasgow said:

"This is something which directly affects my ministry. The existence of Civil Partnerships has been a big step forward. They have given a whole new set of images to society of what gay people are like and that has been great."

"However, Civil Partnership is not Marriage and that inequality is discrimination. This is important - I've had people approach me asking me whether I can do a legal ceremony for them and I've had to say that though I'd like to, the law doesn't allow me to do so. Indeed, the current law specifically forbids people from registering Civil Partnerships in church or using any religious expression in their legal ceremony. What that does, is imply that gay people can never be as holy as straight people. And the ugly consequences of that kind of prejudice are visible in all kinds of places, not least in the suicide statistics of young men."

The LGBT Network will be visiting the LGBT group of St Marys church on Monday and speaking to the LGBT Society of St Andrews University to promote grassroots support of the petition.

To find out the latest on the campaign, check out the LGBT Network website or follow our updates on Twitter. Sign the petition here.

You can contact Very Rev. Kelvin Holdsworth by calling +44 (0) 141 339 6691 or emailing

Contact the LGBT Network on +44 (0) 871 2456 100 or emailing

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