The rejected amendments, put forward by opponents of the bill, included a demand that registrars and public sector workers have the right to refuse to help with same sex weddings. Another, according to a report in Pink News, would have specified that views on same sex marriage could not be taken into consideration when assessing potential adoptive parents and foster carers.
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Alex Neil explained:
“It is already the case that views on same-sex marriage cannot disqualify anyone from becoming a foster carer or an adoptive parent.”
Meanwhile, the Committee accepted two amendments put forward by charity the Equality Network – one will allow couples in civil partnerships formed in other countries to convert these into marriages in Scotland. The other will allow religious organisations to use gender neutral language in wedding ceremonies.
Tom French is Policy Coordinator for the Equality Network. He said: “Scotland’s equal marriage bill will provide a fair balance of rights and freedoms for all. We are very pleased that the Scottish Parliament today made the right choice to reject unnecessary amendments that would have reintroduced discrimination and rolled back equality for LGBT people.”
The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill was created to “make provision for the marriage of persons of the same sex; to make further provision as to the persons who may solemnise marriage and as to marriage procedure and the places at which civil marriages may be solemnised; to make provision for the registration of civil partnerships by celebrants of religious or belief bodies; to make provision about gender change by married persons and civil partners.”
The Committee will again consider the bill on January 16 before MSPs vote on the final draft.