On Tuesday, the Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Scotland) Act comes to Holyrood for its final vote.
It’s a strange feeling, that a piece of legislation that started out, at the very beginning, with a small meeting and a white piece of paper, has brought us to this place at this time. An idea that I truly thought wouldn’t go anywhere, but a conversation that I thought it was important to have anyway. A labour of love for so many people of whom I am so very proud, and for me too.
If you watch the news or read the papers or really are alive in any way at all, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the die has been cast and that the events of next week are a foregone conclusion. A politician (kind of) once said this: there’s moment after you cast the die but before it hits the table — breathe wrong and you’ll change the way it lands. It isn’t done. You still have time to write, email, and phone your MSPs and tell them that it is important to you that they vote for equal marriage on Tuesday.
Over the next four days, I’ll be posting something every day about this.
I thought I’d start by looking back at some of the things that have been said about equal marriage legislation and why we think this is important.
First, it’s easy to get tangled up in the rhetoric and forget what it is we’re actually talking about. Clare Flourish gives us a good run down of what this bill is and what it isn’t.
Jaye Richards-Hill, who you may recognise from the time she and her wife Ruth had their marriage blessed in front of Holyrood, reminds us all that we aren’t looking for special rights but merely for equal ones.
And then let’s have a look again at the speech that David Lammy gave to the House of Commons during the passage of the similar legislation in England.
I’ve written a lot about this over the years, including a piece about why I think it’s time for equal marriage and my pride on the day eighteen months ago that the Scottish Parliament announced that they would be seeking to legislate for it.
A number of religious bodies have made positive contributions to this campaign. For just a few examples, take a look at the letter sent to Parliament by the Faith in Marriage coalition, at the responses made to the government consultation by Ekklesia, the United Reformed Church, the Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group, and Changing Attitude Scotland, and at Kelvin Holdsworth talking about love, respect, and inclusion.
Read what Caron Lindsay wrote about watching the legislation pass through its initial reading in parliament at the end of last year.
Remember that we are merely the latest ripple in a tidal wave of equality that has been sweeping around the world. Remember that when New Zealand passed equal marriage, there came no hurricane nor hellfire nor plague of frogs but instead the singing of a Maori love song that spread across the Internet and to the ends of the earth.
And then have another listen to our song.