The Equality Network welcomes the same-sex marriage win in Commons today. The Equality Network is the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality charity that runs Equal Marriage, the UK's first and longest-running campaign for same-sex marriage.
It has tonight issued a call for the Scottish Government to follow suit and introduce same-sex marriage legislation to the Scottish Parliament.
Tom French, Policy Coordinator for the Equality Network said; "This is an historic day and a huge step forward for equality. After centuries of facing prejudice and discrimination, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people can finally look forward to a day when they are no longer treated as second-class citizens. Today MPs have taken a stand for what is right, by overwhelmingly backing this fair and progressive law. The big majority in favour of equal marriage reflects the views of the country as a whole. In Scotland, two thirds of people support same-sex marriage, and we look forward to a similar resounding vote in the Scottish Parliament. We call on the Scottish Government to introduce the bill as soon as possible after the end of the current consultation."
Members of Parliament were voting tonight on the second reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill which will introduce same-sex marriage for England and Wales.
The Scottish Government is currently running a public consultation on the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill to legalise same-sex marriage in Scotland. The consultation closes on Wednesday 20 March and a final version of the bill is expected to be introduced to the Scottish Parliament before the summer.
Opinion polls have shown consistent public support for same-sex marriage across Scotland. The most recent poll in Scotland was conducted in June by Ipsos MORI. It showed record support with 64% of Scots in favour of a change in the law, and just 26% opposed. Support is highest amongst women and young people, with 70% of women and 75% of those under 55 in favour of same-sex marriage. Separate polls conducted over the past three years by ICM, Populus, YouGov, Angus Reid, and the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, have all shown similar levels of support.
Two-thirds of MSPs have now signed the Equality Network's 'Equal Marriage Pledge' committing themselves to voting in favour of same-sex marriage. Signatories include First Minister Alex Salmond, all Cabinet Ministers, and the leaders of all four opposition parties. Whilst 87 MSPs have now said they will vote in favour, just 10 are publicly opposed.
Eight out of the ten countries immediately surrounding the UK already have same-sex marriage; those countries are Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Portugal. Three days ago (Feb 2nd), the French Parliament voted overwhelmingly for a same-sex marriage bill, and the issue is also being considered by a constitutional convention in Ireland.