Just hours after Queen Elizabeth II gave her royal approval of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in England and Wales, leading LGBT advocacy groups said it was time for Scotland to do the same.
Scotland, which has its own autonomous parliament and constitution, is already in the process of legalizing same-sex marriage, and a bill is expected to be put to the vote later this year.
Colin Macfarlane, Director of Stonewall Scotland, said he was delighted about the passage of marriage equality in England and Wales, “but thousands of gay Scots, their friends and their families will no doubt be frustrated that while the first marriages will likely happen in England and Wales by early next year, they are still waiting for the Scottish Bill to even be debated in the Scottish Parliament.”
“It’s time for Scotland to get on with it and we are calling on supporters to ensure they contact their MSPs to ensure they say I do equal marriage,” he said.
Rob McDowall, chair of the Scottish based LGBT Network campaign, told LGBTQ Nation that while marriage equality has become a reality in England and Wales, “Scotland trails behind.”
“This is despite the much used rhetoric by some of Scotland’s leading politicians, that talk of becoming a progressive beacon in the region,” said McDowall. “Its time that Scotland’s lawmakers walk the walk of progress rather than talk about it.”
“Our politicians say they want Scotland to be a world-leader when it comes to progressive politics – well now is the time to prove it,” said Tom French, Policy Coordinator for the Equality Network, a Scottish advocacy group.
“We’ll continue to push for speedy legislation whilst working to ensure that Scotland’s equal marriage bill meets the needs of all LGBT people as far as possible,” he said.
The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill is currently being examined by the Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee, and expected to but submitted for parliamentary approval in November 2013.
After further committee deliberations on possible amendments, the bill then will return for a further vote in the Scottish parliament, around March 2014, and if successful, would be given its Royal Assent in the month following.