Same-sex marriage bill opposing amendments rejected

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The Equal Opportunities Committee rejected a series of amendments from opponents to the Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill at Stage 2 of its proceedings.

The legislation to introduce same-sex marriage in Scotland was approved in principle by parliament, after MSPs voted on it for the first time.

The bill passed the first of three parliamentary hurdles by 98 votes to 15 with five abstentions.

Amendments from SNP MSPs John Mason and Richard Lyle, who voted against the principles of the bill, were defeated with three members of the committee backing them and four voting against.

Amongst the amendments not agreed to were those calling for protection of expression of belief in marriage between persons of different sex and protection for people who did not believe in same-sex marriage seeking to adopt or foster to be included in the bill.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said both amendments were unnecessary as there was nothing in the bill to stop the belief in different sex marriage and views on the issue could not stop someone fostering or adopting.

Religious and belief bodies would "opt in" to perform same-sex marriages.

Same-sex couples in Scotland currently have the option to enter into civil partnerships, and there has been an indication that the earliest gay marriage ceremonies could take place by the start of 2015, if the legislation is passed.

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