Scotland is famous for many things, including Alan Cumming, Alan Cumming’s accent, and Alan Cumming’s accent in a kilt.
And now! Now Scotland can also proudly declare itself the 17th(-ish) country to tell its rainbow-flavoured citizens, “Go forth and marry the f*ck outta each other, queermos.” Today, the Parliament passed the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill with an overwhelming majority (105 to 18) as MSPs were given a free vote unconstrained by party loyalties.
In our UK LGBT Politics Crash Course, we highlighted three areas of concern with regard to the England and Wales Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act. Here’s how Scotland fares on the same scorecard:
- Transphobia: No spousal veto for Scotland! With the hard work of the Equality Network and Scottish Transgender Alliance, MSPs voted unanimously to remove the clause that required married trans* people to obtain the permission of their spouse to have their gender legally recognised.
- Religious Exemptions: As in England and Wales, religious bodies can “opt in” to perform same-sex wedding rites (the Quakers, Buddhists and Pagan Federation have said they will), and an amendment to the Equality Act 2010 has been agreed upon to ensure no “persons who play an integral part in the religious or belief [i.e. not commercial] aspects of the marriage or civil partnership” can be punished for refusing to participate in a same-sex wedding. The Scottish Catholic Church and Church of Scotland have opposed this legislation every step of the way and have no plans to conduct same-sex marriages, but there is no legal ban barring them from doing so as is currently in place for the Church of England and Church in Wales.
- Neoliberalism: Sorry, radiqueers, our time is yet to come.
The next step lies in debating whether civil partnerships (currently a UK-level policy, unless Scotland gains independence in September this year) should be open to opposite-sex couples as well. In the meantime, go forth and marry the f*ck outta each other, queermos.