A law that would legalise gay marriage in Scotland has been approved by an influential committee of MSPs.
The equal opportunities committee in the Scottish Parliament has backed the draft Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill after examining the proposals, but not without some members saying they were concerned the bill did not fully protect the rights of those who oppose gay marriage.
Like the corresponding legislation in England, the bill would require religious organisations to opt into the holding same sex weddings on their premises, the BBC reports.
Committee convener Margaret McCulloch said: “All 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. While 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.”
The bill will now resume its passage through parliament. Three further stages of voting are required before it becomes law.
Tom French is Policy Coordinator of campaign group the Equality Network. He said:
“The large majority of people in Scotland believe it’s time LGBT people had full equality, including the right to marry the person they love. This Bill will remove discrimination from the law and send out an important message about the kind of country we are.”
But a spokesman for opponents Scotland for Marriage insisted:
“Real safeguards set out in amendments to the legislation are required to protect the rights and civil liberties of the majority of Scots who don’t support this law.”