A consultation on a draft Bill to allow same sex marriage in Scotland has started today.
The plans have received cross party support in the Scottish Parliament.
The consultation seeks views on the detail of the legislation. It covers not only the introduction of same sex marriage but the detail of important protections in relation to religious bodies and celebrants, freedom of speech and education.
The Bill contains a provision making it clear that the introduction of same sex marriage has no impact on existing rights to freedom of speech.
Health Secretary Alex Neil said:
“We are introducing same sex marriage in Scotland because it is the right thing to do.
“We are striving to create a Scotland that is free, tolerant and fair and I am pleased to say there is support across the chamber for this significant step.
“I am absolutely clear that this should not impact on religious freedom and no religious body will be compelled to solemnise same sex marriages. Religious bodies who wish to solemnise same sex marriage will have to opt in.
“Where a body does decide to solemnise same sex marriages, we will also protect individual celebrants who consider such ceremonies to be contrary to their faith.”
The plan has attracted considerable opposition from churches and Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan told the Gazette earlier this year that he was unlikely to support the Bill due to the large number of representations he had received on this subject his constituents.
The closing date for the consultation is Wednesday, 20 March 2013.
View the consultation : http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2012/12/9433