Scotland politics

Reaction to Scotland gay marriage decision

Scotland is set to become the first part of the UK to introduce gay marriage, following an announcement by the Scottish government.

Political leaders, equality groups and others support the move, which is strongly opposed by the Catholic Church and Church of Scotland.

Here is a look at what people have been saying about the decision:

Nicola Sturgeon, deputy first minister of Scotland

"We are committed to a Scotland that is fair and equal and that is why we intend to proceed with plans to allow same sex marriage and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships. We believe that this is the right thing to do."

Spokesman for Catholic Church in Scotland

"The Scottish government is embarking on a dangerous social experiment on a massive scale. However, the church looks much further than the short-term electoral time-scales of politicians.

"We strongly suspect that time will show the church to have been completely correct in explaining that same-sex sexual relationships are detrimental to any love expressed within profound friendships.

"However, in the short term and long term the church does not see same-sex marriage as an appropriate and helpful response to same-sex attraction."

Hazel Marzetti, NUS Scotland

"Thousands of students contacted the Scottish government and urged them to back equal marriage. The government has listened to these voices and demonstrated that Scotland is a shining example of a progressive, inclusive society that others should take their lead from.

"It's now time for the leading religious institutions who have fought so hard against this legislation to see the light and welcome loving couples who wish to be married in their institution into their fold."

Free Church of Scotland

"This is a truly sad day for Scotland, and we urge the Scottish government to reconsider their plans."

Grant Costello, chairman of the Scottish Youth Parliament

"Equal marriage is the civil rights battle of our generation. Today, the Scottish government made it clear it stands with our generation on the side of equality."

Tom French, the Equality Network

"Same-sex marriage is about equality and freedom. The freedom for couples, and religious and humanist groups that want to, to celebrate same-sex marriages.

"But equally, upholding the freedom of other religious groups to say no to same-sex marriages. That's the right way for Scotland to deal with the different opinions on this."

The Rev Alan Hamilton, Church of Scotland

"We are concerned the Scottish government is rushing ahead on something that affects all the people of Scotland without adequate debate and reflection."

LGBT Youth Scotland

"Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people deserve the exact same rights as any other person in Scotland and LGBT young people want this unequal, segregated system to end now."

Shabnum Mustapha, Amnesty International

"The choice to marry or not to marry should be just that - a choice. It should not be denied because of someone's sexual orientation or gender identity."

SNP MSP John Mason, who voiced opposition to gay marriage

"Crucially, the government has said that churches and clergy will not be forced to conduct same sex marriages. That is right and proper and I welcome that reassurance - even before any draft legislation is introduced to Parliament. However, there is now an acceptance that the Scottish Parliament does not have the power to guarantee that protection of religious freedom.

"Therefore, a number of questions remain:

  • Will Westminster amend the Equality Act 2010 to strengthen religious freedom?
  • In what timescale will Westminster deal with this?
  • Can Westminster actually guarantee freedom of religion in this regard?"

Johann Lamont, Scottish Labour leader

"While this has not been an easy debate, we must now build on the emerging consensus to deliver real marriage equality for Scotland."

Grahame Smith, general secretary, STUC:

"We know that too many LGBT workers are isolated at work, because they fear their colleagues' negative reaction to coming out about their relationships.

"The introduction of equal marriage sends a strong signal that diverse relationships and families are to be celebrated and supported in a modern Scotland."

Colin Macfarlane, director of Stonewall Scotland

"We've never sought so-called gay rights - all we've ever sought are exactly the same rights and entitlements that everyone else takes for granted."

Patrick Harvie, Green MSP

"It's clear that religious freedom can be protected and extended within existing equality law, and I would urge the Scottish government not to delay progress until the changes they want are made by the UK government."

Willie Rennie, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader

"This is a small but important step for equality in Scotland. I'm sure there will be bumps on the road but Nicola Sturgeon can count on my support to deliver equality in marriage."

Scottish Conservatives

"After weeks of confusion, the SNP finally seems to be moving towards a position that was set out in its manifesto."

Prof Alan Miller, chairman, Scottish Human Rights Commission

"Countries throughout Europe and around the world are increasingly recognising same-sex marriage in law and it is right that Scotland should join them."

More on this story