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 Richard Lyle Richard Lyle Scottish National Party

No. I do not have time.

My wife’s minister, the Rev Derek Hughes, recently emailed us stating that, as the bill stands, it will place supporters of traditional marriage in conflict with equality laws. He went on to say that, at the very least, amendments need to be introduced to the bill to protect ministers, chaplains, teachers and registrars, among others, who will find themselves in an uncomfortable situation when forced to choose between their deeply held religious views and the proposed new law.

In light of that, many of my constituents feel that the section of the bill that is meant to be designed to protect those who speak out against same-sex marriage is not fit for purpose and should be amended to specify clearly that it is not against the law to criticise same-sex marriage.

Rest assured that, when the bill is passed, it will be tested to the limit. Adoption will be tested, and people who want to adopt will be questioned on their views, as I suggested earlier.

I remind members about the response to the specific question in the Scottish Government’s consultation on whether same-sex marriage should be allowed. Some 64 per cent of responses from within Scotland said that it should not be. Furthermore, the Scotland for Marriage petition, which opposes the redefinition of marriage, has recently passed the 53,000 signature mark. That demonstrates the enormous strength of feeling on the issue. Based on the figures that have been given to members, Scotland does not support the bill.