LGBT Youth Scotland responds to the Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill submitted today!


Today LGBT Youth Scotland submitted a consultation response to the Scottish Government on the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill. We strongly believe that this Bill will have a positive impact on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people by creating equal access to marriage for all couples regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. 

This legislation has the potential to positively influence social attitudes towards LGBT people and sends a strong message to the wider world that Scotland is a progressive nation, supportive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. 

Our full response is below, our key points include:

We do not agree that the Bill has the potential to impact negatively upon ‘people who believe that marriage should not be available to same sex couples’. Sufficient protections are in place to ensure that those providing religious and belief bodies should be allowed, but not required to conduct same-sex marriages.

We strongly agree with the Scottish Government’s proposal that registrars and teachers do not require further employment protections as their role is to provide an un-biased service and their personal beliefs have no place in that function.

In particular reference to schools, our research shows that LGBT young people feel that hearing positive messages from teachers about being LGB or T would have assisted them to contribute in school and become more confident. We therefore strongly agree with the Scottish Government proposal not to extend opt-outs for parents and carers to any class which might mention same-sex marriage or civil partnerships.

Young people felt that discussing same-sex marriage across the curriculum would enable young people to speak about their LGBT families, come out more readily, reduce anxiety and mental health problems, increase school participation, and reduce bullying.

Our research Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People: Education Report ,echoes these comments and has shown that an LGBT-inclusive environment is crucial for reducing bullying and discrimination. This research showed that 10% of all LGBT young people have left education as a result of homophobia, biphobia or transphobia in educational environments and the top answer when asked what would improve the experience for LGBT young people was visibility in the curriculum and positive messages from school staff.

In addition we strongly believe that an amendment should not be added to state that ‘foster carers would not be rejected for expressing views against same-sex marriage’ as this could have a negative impact on the young people in their care.

Young people told us that living in an environment with a foster carer who is unsupportive of same-sex marriage or LGBT identities: ‘[W]ould be terrifying. [They] already feel isolated as it is and this would make it worse. A lot of LGBT young people in care self-harm and act out. [They] don’t feel part of family and are discriminated against, it could make them feel scared.’

We have urged the Scottish Government to maintain its commitment to equality and ensure that concessions are not made for those who oppose same-sex marriage as these measures could have a negative impact on the lives of LGBT (young) people.

Thanks to all the young people and staff that have assisted with this response and all our partners that provided organisational responses. We would also like to thank everyone that responded to the Equality Network’s on-line consultation. We are hopeful that this will go a long way to ensuring this Bill is passed with amendments that are right for LGBT people, their friends, families and supporters.  

Full consultation response can be found here.