Scotland takes the lead by becoming first part of the UK to legalise same-sex marriage

 

The legalisation of same-sex marriage has been a hotly debated topic in the UK for many years. Several other countries have allowed such unions, and now Scotland will become the first part of the UK to allow same-sex couples to marry in religious or civil ceremonies.

What rights will same-sex married couples have?

The planned legislation will confer the same rights on homosexual couples as heterosexual couples when they enter into marriage. Religious leaders and institutions have expressed strong opposition to the measure, but the Scottish Government has said that it has the necessary political support and a draft bill will be published later this year. The Government is certain that the new legislation will be enacted in 2013.

Nicola Sturgeon, the Deputy First Minister, said the measure will bring greater equality and that this aspiration trumped any opposition: "We are committed to a Scotland that is fair and equal and that is why we intend to proceed with plans to allow same sex marriage and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships." Moreover, Sturgeon highlighted that the majority of the Scottish electorate in favour of same-sex marriage.

What about Britain?

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has on several occasions said that he intends to legalise same-sex marriage before the next general election, which is to take place in 2015. However, similarly to Scotland, there has been wide religious opposition and the Church of England has publicly announced it strongly opposes any such changes.

Under the Scottish legislation, no religious institution will be coerced into conducting same-sex marriage ceremonies. Those who wish to conduct such ceremonies will have to take active steps by signing on to a public register. As such, religious bodies will be comforted by the fact they won't be compelled to administer services that they consider contrary to their religious believes.

Rights groups have welcomed the development as a major step towards granting equal rights for all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation.

If you'd like any information regarding your rights as a same-sex couple we can put you in touch with an expert solicitor in your area, free of charge. Call us now on 0800 1777 162.

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