Alex Neil
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Marriage 'is about love, not gender', says minister Alex Neil

Scotland's Health Secretary Alex Neil said the publication of the same-sex marriage legislation marked "an historic moment for Scotland and for equal rights in our country".

The Scottish government proposals also aim to protect the rights of religious celebrants and groups who are opposed to allowing gay couples to wed.

Mr Neil told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "We are striving to create a Scotland that is fairer and more tolerant, where everyone is treated equally. That is why we believe that same sex couples should be allowed to marry.

"A marriage is about love, not gender. And that is the guiding principle at the heart of this Bill.

"At the same time, we also want to protect freedom of speech and religion, and that's what the bill sets out to do. That is why it will be up to the religious body or individual celebrant to decide if they want to perform same sex marriages and there will be no obligation to opt in."

  • 27 Jun 2013