16 January 2014
Last chance to contact MSPs about marriage safeguards
The Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill is now progressing through the Scottish Parliament having passed comfortably through the Stage 1 vote of the whole parliament in November and Stage 2 (a committee stage) this week. The final vote (Stage 3) will be held within the next two or three weeks and represents the last opportunity to contact MSPs on this issue.
All MSPs will vote at Stage 3 on the final version of the bill and on amendments to the bill. In common with many other organisations we have real concerns about some of the practical implications of the bill as it currently stands and were disappointed that the Equal Opportunities Committee voted down amendments to the bill designed to protect the rights of those who hold to a traditional view on marriage by a single vote in December. These were in areas such as charity law, fostering and adoption and recognition that belief in traditional marriage is a belief 'worthy of respect.'
We understand there are likely to be further amendments lodged at Stage 3 and it is important that MSPs are aware of the concerns of their constituents.Whatever the reality of opinion polling on this issue (which is somewhat disputed) it is clear that the Scottish Parliament is proportionately out of step with the population at large on this issue. There are now more Scottish citizens who have signed the Scotland for Marriage petition than are members of all the Scottish political parties combined and it is important that MSPs understand the level of concern and the need to ensure delivery of a robust bill that caters for all groups in Scotland, whatever their views on marriage.
Please consider contacting your MSPs on this issue over the next fortnight. It is the last opportunity.