Same-sex marriage consultation to close today

CARRICK residents have only five hours left to make their views on the legalisation of same-sex marriage known.

The Scottish Government’s public consultation on same-sex marriage legislation, launched in December, will close at 5pm today.

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill would legalise gay marriage, with religious and belief bodies required to opt in to perform same-sex marriages. It also contains provisions to protect freedom of speech and amend guidelines for teaching around the issue in schools.

Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock MP Sandra Osborne voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage when the issue went to parliamentary vote on February 5.

Mrs Osborne, who chairs the All Party Group on Equalities, described same-sex marriage as an “important next step” towards equality during parliamentary debate, and said distinction between heterosexual and gay couples is discriminatory.

Tom French, policy co-ordinator for the Equality Network, said: “With time running out, it is vital that we encourage people to speak up for LGBT equality by responding to the consultation on Scotland’s equal marriage Bill.

“Opponents of LGBT equality are running a very well-funded campaign to block same-sex marriage and roll back LGBT equality in other areas. If people want a progressive Bill that stands up for equality, it is crucial that they make their voice heard now.”

The Scotland for Marriage campaign, which opposes same-sex marriage, has spoken about its concerns.

Opponents of the Bill have called for parents to have the right to opt their children out of any lessons that mention same-sex relationships.

A previous consultation on whether to legislate on same-sex marriage produced a record 77,508 responses.

The Scottish Government will consider the submissions to the latest consultation and respond in due course, a spokesman said.

To contribute to the Scottish Government consultation online click here.