Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1

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

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Photo of Marco Biagi Marco Biagi Scottish National Party

I very much agree with the sentiment that was expressed, although I speak up for Unitarians, who have also been performing same-sex blessings since the 1950s. There is plenty of progress all round.

If we were to vote down the bill, who would we be to say that the understanding of the sacrament of marriage held by other faiths that do not share that view should be allowed and the views of the Quakers and Unitarians should be forbidden unless we somehow believed that same-sex relationships were intrinsically different, wrong and worthy of legal prescription?

I cannot bring myself to believe that any member subscribes to that view, but I will tell members a secret: I did once. The shame of those days has now given way to a shame that I fought those feelings for such a long time. Sadly, I know too many who still fight them—people young and old whose lives are a daily denial. I do not have to imagine how it feels to live like that because I remember it.

When I came out, I stopped looking at those around me and wishing that I was the same as them. Instead, I started to wish that I had the same rights as them—the same right to love, marry and dream of what might be.

The bill grants people throughout Scotland that right and the freedom to be true to their faith and to their love. I implore all members to join together and endorse it. What a sign that would be for all those people, young and old.