Scotland unveils draft marriage equality bill
The Scottish government launched the ‘Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill’, which will introduce marriage equality, yesterday (12 December) alongside a 14-week consultation on its implementation. The draft legislation will allow same-sex marriage in Scotland and give all religious and belief bodies (for example Humanist) the right to conduct same-sex marriages, if they wish to do so. The bill will also remove the requirement on a married or civil partnered transgender person to divorce before obtaining full Gender Recognition. In addition the bill will introduce religious and belief ceremonies for civil partnerships. Finally, the bill will allow civil marriages to take place anywhere a couple and their registrar choose. The Scottish government will now be consulting on the implementation of the draft bill, including the details of the legislation and proposals relating to religious bodies and celebrants, freedom of speech, education and employment. Following the close of the public consultation on 20 March, the Scottish government will make any changes to the bill that are considered necessary, then introduce the bill for a vote into the Scottish parliament. It generally takes at least 6 months for a bill to go through parliament, so if the bill is introduced by May or June, it might be passed by around the end of 2013.