Ten years ago, the Labour Party abolished Section 28. In 2004, the Labour Party played a key role in passing legislation for civil partnerships, paving the way for a successful equal marriage vote in 2013. We have come so far in just a few years but there is still so much more work to be done.
LGBT Labour Scotland welcomes the Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Scotland) Bill. We believe the legislation will be a huge step forward for equality in Scotland, and that it provides a balance between equality and freedoms of religion and speech. We believe it is the right time to introduce full marriage equality. It is a debate that is being had across the world and has the overwhelming support of the LGBT community and widespread support amongst the public. In a poll by Ipsos-Mori carried out in 2012, it showed that 64% of Scots support the right of same-sex couples to marry.
LGBT people still face so much discrimination, whether that’s at school, college, university, the workplace, or even in the street. We the LGBT community have waited so long for the same marriage equality as heterosexual counterparts and as Labour Party members, we know that it is Labour that is the true party of equality. Now that equal marriage has passed in England and Wales, it’s time for Scotland to follow suit and allow our citizens to marry the person they love, regardless of gender.
We recognise that Scotland is a deeply diverse country and religion plays an important role in many people’s lives. However, we believe that Scotland’s equal marriage bill makes the right balance between religious traditions and equality for all. We know that there may be some anxieties about the effect this bill will have on people of faith but we are confident that our MSPs will be able to fine-tune this piece of legislation to offer our LGBT community full marriage equality.
With the first vote taking place today, we encourage all MSPs to show they are on the right side of history and take this first step toward marriage equality in Scotland.