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 John Mason John Mason Scottish National Party

There are people puzzled because we have not got over it already, and there are people puzzled about why we are looking at it when they think that there are other things that are more important.

We need to deal with this subject sensitively—I think that Ruth Davidson gave us a tremendous example of that—as we are talking about personal relationships. We have people who have a relationship with a partner whom they love and who want the right to marry them; we have people in a loving marriage relationship who feel that the proposed changes could devalue that relationship; and we have people like me who have a relationship with Jesus and want to show our love for him. Let us all accept that and try at least to tolerate a range of views.

There are two main arguments against the bill: one is on the principle that marriage is between a man and a woman and the second is about whether adequate safeguards are in place for those who disagree.

The latter is a concern that comes on top of the feeling of some religious people that they are being increasingly marginalised in society. On the first, the argument is that the word “marriage” has had a recognised meaning for a very long time. Some would argue that Parliament cannot or should not change that meaning. By widening the meaning, it dilutes the value.