Hilary White

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Scottish Parliament passes gay ‘marriage’ 105-18

Hilary White

Update: This article originally suggested Conservative MP Tim Yeo had been de-selected as a candidate in his riding over his vote for same-sex "marriage." Yeo, however, is an MP in Britain, not an MSP in Scotland, and it is not clear that he was removed over same-sex "marriage". We regret the error.

EDINBURGH, February 4, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Tonight Scotland became the 11th jurisdiction in the European Union and the 17th in the world to create gay “marriage” in a vote at Holyroodhouse of 105-18. This leaves only Northern Ireland as the last jurisdiction in the United Kingdom to retain the traditional legal definition of marriage between one man and one woman.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said he expected the first “gay marriages” could take place this autumn. “We’re doing a remarkable thing today, we are saying on behalf of Scotland to the world, loud and clear that we believe in recognizing love between same sex couples as we do between opposite sex couples,” he said.

Neil reiterated that clergy celebrants of marriage ceremonies who could not in conscience participate would be protected by the “safeguards,” but the legislation does not mention the rights of non-clerical citizens. The Church of Scotland, a Presbyterian denomination that represents the majority of Scotland’s Christian believers, said in September that it might simply give up officiating at marriages should the legislation pass.

At the time of the vote, 54,000 people had signed a petition asking the government to drop the idea. A spokesman for the marriage campaign group Scotland for Marriage said the petition was submitted to the government with the addresses of signatories removed out of fears of discrimination. Redacting these details was “an absolute necessity to protect the rights and freedoms of ordinary men and women with traditional views on marriage which are under threat,” the Christian Institute reports.

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“We really are facing the prospect of people being discriminated against in their own homes, at work and at schools if this Bill progresses in its present form,” the Scotland for Marriage spokesman added.

Scotland for Marriage had asked for amendments to the bill to protect not only clergy from having to participate, but also ordinary citizens who might be caught in a conflict between the law and their conscience, including civil marriage registrars and marriage counselors. The group had also called for a public referendum on the issue.

Campaigners threatened MSPs who supported the bill, saying they would lose their seats in the next election cycle.

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