Greens commit to equal marriage change in next session

For immediate release 27 January 2011

Patrick Harvie MSP today set out a commitment by the Scottish Greens to backing equal marriage legislation in the next session of Parliament, and the party is confident that there will be sufficient cross-party support amongst the new intake of MSPs to take the necessary measures onto the statute book. A poll conducted for the Green MSPs late last year showed that equality is now overwhelmingly popular in society at large with 58% of Scots supporting the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry if they wish to, and just 19% against.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"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."

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 this poll (2006 Social Attitudes/2002 Social Attitudes)

29% (17%/10%)