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Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill, 27/06/13 [S}

A Bill to allow same sex couples to marry in Scotland has been published. The proposals offer protections for religious bodies, individual celebrants and the Bill also makes it clear that freedom of speech is unaffected.

Under the plans, religious bodies who wish to perform same sex marriage will have to opt in. If a body does decide to perform same sex marriages, protection will also be in place for individual celebrants who consider such ceremonies to be contrary to their faith.

Engagement with key education stakeholders on revising sexual health education guidance will begin in September to ensure it is kept up to date.  Existing guidance makes it clear that parents and carers can, following discussions with the school and the local authority, withdraw their children from classes on sexual health education.  This right will be retained.  Revised guidance is expected to be in place by early 2014.

It was also confirmed that a review  will be undertaken on the Civil Partnership Act 2004 in Scotland, driven by the need to consider the position on opposite sex civil partnership.

The Scottish Parliament Equal Opportunities Committee has issued a call for evidence on the Bill which is open until 23 August 2013.

Further Information

Call for evidence
Scottish Government news release
Consultation on the draft Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill: - responses from organisations
Consultation on the Draft Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill: Analysis of Written Responses