Green pledge for landmark gay rights anniversary

For immediate release 31 March 2011

Tomorrow (1 April 2011) will mark the tenth anniversary of the first gay marriages in the Netherlands, the first country to open marriage up to same-sex couples. The Scottish Greens pledged today to bring forward legislation in the next session of the Scottish Parliament to offer equal access to marriage and also to civil partnerships - currently not open to mixed-sex couples.

Since this landmark move in 2001, same-sex marriage is now legal in South Africa, Argentina, Spain, Canada, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, and Iceland, as well as Mexico City and a number of American states. Polling conducted last year showed that a clear majority of Scots are in favour of this proposal, and support continues to grow.

Patrick Harvie said:

"The Netherlands led the way on same-sex marriage exactly ten years ago, and since then ten more countries have taken this crucial step for equality. Greens believe marriage should be about love, not sexual orientation, and we will therefore bring legislation in the next Holyrood session to open up marriage to same-sex couples, and to give mixed-sex couples the option of civil partnerships too.

"We have made substantial progress towards equality over recent decades, but it's time to end the current 'separate but equal' system of family law. There are also faith groups like the Quakers and the Unitarians who back equal marriage and want to be free to conduct wedding ceremonies for the first time. Scotland's ready to make this change, and I would hope that all parties at Holyrood will also be ready to help us deliver it."

Tim Hopkins of the LGBT rights group Equality Network said:

"We are closely following the different parties' positions on this issue, and we welcome the commitment from the Greens to end the segregation in marriage and civil partnership law."

Angus Reid polled 1001 Scottish adults between 14th April and 16th April 2010. The question asked was as follows:
How much do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Gay or lesbian couples should have the right to marry one another if they want to.
Figures are 2010 poll (2006 Social Attitudes/2002 Social Attitudes)

29% (17%/10%)