Main | Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Scotland Rejects Public Vote On Marriage

Opposite-marriage supporters say they are deeply disappointed that Scotland's government has rejected a call for a public referendum on same-sex marriage.
Scotland for Marriage, a campaign supporting marriage as the union of one man and one woman which has the support of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland as well as other religious and non-religious groups, had initiated a petition in favor of retaining the current legal definition marriage, and supported holding a referendum. “This issue should be decided by the people, not by politicians,” the group said. “If there is to be a change it should be subject to a referendum. The Scottish Government did not invent marriage, and it does not have the moral authority to redefine it. At the very least, on an issue of this importance, MSPs should be guided by their constituents more on this issue than would normally be the case.”
Meanwhile LGBT activists remain frustrated that the Scottish government continues to hedge on when they may reveal whether they will move forward towards legalization. That decision was originally set to be disclosed on July 10th.
Tom French, Policy Coordinator for the Equality Network, said: “It is time the Scottish Government demonstrated its leadership on this issue and announced a decision. Same-sex marriage is supported by the majority of Scots and the majority of MSPs. “The Government have had seven months to analyse the consultation responses and to deal with the detail. We cannot understand why there is any need for further delay. “The Government created huge expectation, not least amongst national and international press, and have failed to deliver today. “It is unfair to keep dangling the prospect of equality in front of LGBT people, only to snatch it further away again. The Government should now set a date for announcing their decision, and stick to it.”
Yesterday Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said that he remains supportive of same-sex marriage.
Mr Salmond was talking after a cabinet decision on marriage equality was expected to be made but did not materialise yesterday. He said while his personal convictions had not changed, the decision needed to be made after consideration of all arguments, not his personal feeling. He noted the government itself had only committed to making an announcement of the “way forward” before August, not by yesterday evening. In a press conference today, he said: “I have said a number of times that I haven’t changed my mind.
If the government moves forward, it's expected that the members of the Scottish Parliament will be allowed to make a "free" or "conscience" vote without pressure to toe their party's line. JMG readers from Scotland, please weigh in with your forecasts.

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