What IS HAPPENING?
On Tuesday the 4th of February 2014, the Scottish Parliament considered the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill at a Stage 3 debate. This was the final stage of consideration and MSPs passed the Bill 105 votes to 18, making Scotland the 17th country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage.
Earlier in the day, the Equality Network organised an equal marriage rally outside the Scottish Parliament. LGBT Youth Scotland supported 12 young people from several areas across Scotland to attend the rally and debate. Prepared with flags, signs and t-shirts, the young people enjoyed the festive atmosphere. They found it inspiring that MSPs came out to the lawn to speak about the importance of passing the Bill and also voiced pride in having been involved in the campaign over the past few years. The LGBT National Youth Council has campaigned for equal marriage since 2009.
After the rally, staff and young people headed into the gallery above the debating chamber to listen to MSPs discuss the proposed amendments and share their views on the Bill. As the final vote was read out, and those in the debating chamber and gallery stood applauding, staff and young people felt part of this momentous and important change in Scotland.
Fergus McMillan, Chief Executive of LGBT Youth Scotland, spoke on the Bill's passing:
After many years campaigning, and two years since the Scottish Government began its consultation process, we are pleased that the historical barriers to marriage on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity have been removed. We thank the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament for all their work on the Bill, which has resulted in legislation that both protects and expands freedoms. There is particular significance that the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill was passed this week, as February is LGBT History Month.