Wednesday 17 August 2011

What the Party manifestos said on Same Sex Marriage

Before we get into too big a brouhaha about the consultation on equal marriage by the Scottish Parliament let's take a look at what the different parties actually said in their manifestos.

The big two were quite similar both only saying they would start a consultation.

The SNP page 17 under the header A more equal Scotland

"We recognise the range of views on the questions of same-sex marriage and registration of civil partnership. We will therefore begin a process of consultation and discussion on these issues."

Labour page 67 under the heading Championing equality, celebrating diversity

"Scottish Labour wants to end the unjust situation that has seen gay men, who were previously prosecuted for consensual acts, continue to suffer the prejudice caused by these convictions - long after the offences themselves have been decriminalised. We will investigate the best way to implement the 'Alli Amendment' in Scotland, to give religious organisations that want to, the freedom to hold civil partnerships in their buildings for the first time. We also believe that the time is now right to consult on options to provide genuine equality for same-sex couples and their families, by addressing the different status of civil partnership and marriage. We are clear – Scotland shouldn’t be left behind on these issues."

Two of the others also had policies that were very similar, both saying they would actually take action.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats page 82 under the heading Freedom and Liberty Action Plan based on the policy motion which I reported on here.

"Extend legal marriage to gay couples and civil partnerships to heterosexual couples."

Scottish Green Party page 19 under the heading Diversity, tolerance and creativity

"We'll introduce legislation for equal partnership – opening marriage and civil partnership up to mixed-sex and same sex couples, and allowing religious celebrants to conduct civil partnership. We'll begin a dialogue with the UK Government about the need for cross-border recognition of relationships on the basis of equality."
In fact looking at what Patrick Harvie of the Green's said back in January this year, the Greens are similarly to the Liberal Democrats position of not forcing churches to do anything. I particularly like his phrasing in the last line.
"The idea that same sex couples are second class citizens is deeply offensive and on the wane, but it still needs to be challenged. The Equal Marriage campaign is an attempt to remove one of the last elements of discrimination in law, and deserves our support. The antiquated notion that same sex couples are in some way morally inferior needs to be put to rest once and for all.

"The progress made toward equality over recent decades has been dramatic, but prejudice and discrimination are still very real in our society. It's important that the law should recognise that love is love, that family is family, and that a "separate but equal" system of family law is still giving cover for prejudice.

"It would be relatively simple for Scotland to open civil marriage up to same sex couples and civil partnership to mixed sex couples, so that people can make their own choice on their own terms. The churches would also be free to reach their own view, instead of being banned by law from recognising all relationships equally."

Then there was the Conservatives 



Yeah a distinct lack of anything there.

So you have two parties that were committed to bringing in equal marriage, neither of which were going to force churches to carry it out, but allow them to be "free to reach their own view, instead of being banned by law from recognising all relationships equally". Plus two parties who consultation would have lead them to realise there are gay Christians who want the option, religious groups that want the option and those that don't want to be forced in to anything.

All three can be accommodated in the one motion and it won't affect the sanctity of marriage any more that the current divorce rate amongst heterosexual marriages, that is something that both the Greens and Lib Dems already have come to a consensus on..

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