Manchester’s LGBT community is rejoicing at the news that the Scottish government will permit same-sex couples to marry – and hope the rest of the UK will follow suit.
Scotland’s decision to bring forward the legislation came after almost 80,000 people responded to the government’s consultation on the issue, while the UK government are still waiting before making a decision on the matter.
Andrew Jackson, owner and manager of the city’s Civil Partnership Planner, was delighted at the news.
He said: “It’s absolutely brilliant. England, Wales and Northern Ireland should follow suit.
“It is still in the consultation stage here, but it’s looking very likely that it will happen. Hopefully this will speed things up a bit!”
John Leech, Liberal Democrat MP for Withington, said: “I’m very pleased that Scotland has taken this step towards equal marriage.
“Equal marriage is a fundamental right, and it is a case of when, not if, this reform goes through.
“I’m confident that this will be delivered before 2015. It is currently at the consultation stage but this step in Scotland will only strengthen the argument for equal marriage.”
The Home Office’s consultation paper proposes that same-sex couples are allowed to marry in a registry office or other civil ceremony.
Alternatively they will allow people to stay married and legally change their gender, but a legal ban will be maintained on same-sex couples marrying in a religious service.
Sarah McNally of the Lesbian and Gay Foundation in Manchester said: “This is great news and yet again shows Scotland leading the way on equality issues just as it did back in 2000 when the country repealed an amendment to Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 which prevented discussion of lesbian and gay issues in schools.
“It took over three years before the rest of Great Britain followed suit. Let’s just hope that it won’t take too long before same sex couples across England and Wales can again rejoice in such good news, meaning that anyone who wishes to get married to the person that they love will soon be allowed to do so.”
The Scottish government said that it will work with the UK government to allow a UK Equality Act amendment before a Bill is formally introduced to Parliament.