Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 20th November 2013.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Baroness Annabel MacNicoll Goldie Baroness Annabel MacNicoll Goldie Conservative

Like John Lamont, I speak as an elder of the Church of Scotland and I propose to vote for the bill this evening.

I am concerned about the level of protection afforded to, say, an individual celebrant from a religious community that has opted in but who chooses to opt out. As I read it, the relevant amendment to the Equality Act 2010 says that a person controlling the use of religious or belief premises will not contravene the act by refusing to allow the premises to be used for a same-sex marriage or a civil partnership.

However, we might be talking not about a person within the Church of Scotland but about a collective entity such as a congregational board. It might also be that, after a request to participate in a same-sex marriage is declined, a subsequent request to use the church premises for a reception is also declined. Is that also covered by this protection?