Freedom of Choice in Marriage Laws

The human spirit is drawn to love and companionship. Yet what if you couldn’t marry the person you love? That’s how it is for same sex couples – but we are on the verge of change. Scotland stands ready to take its place amongst the most progressive countries around the world where same sex couples can legally marry on equal terms.

Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill now before the Scottish Parliament, if passed, will make this law. If Scotland is a society which sincerely respects individual choice, values the differences amongst us and embraces equality then this is only just. We are fortunate enough to be encouraged in our country to get involved in shaping our society through our democratic process. Whether you agree or disagree, all views have been welcomed from everyone as ordinary people.

The Humanist Fellowship of Scotland responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Bill and also to the recent call for evidence from the Scottish Parliament. We have stated our support for the Bill which will now be debated in Parliament in the autumn.

The approach proposed is compatible with a humanist ethos in which freedom of choice, belief and expression is central. Same sex partners can already enter into a legally recognised Civil Partnership in Scotland but it’s not the same thing as marriage, legally or spiritually. We are also pleased that the Bill allows existing civil partners to convert their civil partnership to marriage by an administrative process. We believe that most couples in civil partnerships consider themselves married but for a legal technicality.

Celebrating Same Sex Marriage in Scotland

Celebrants will be able to opt out of conducting same sex marriages if it’s not right for them as individuals – that’s only fair in a law that respects freedom of choice and conscience. We, in the Humanist Fellowship of Scotland, are, however, looking forward to celebrating same sex marriage in Scotland and will be extremely proud to do so.

Laura Dolan