Religious groups call for gay marriages in Scotland

Same-sex couple marking partnership with ring
Image caption The Scottish government is currently holding a consultation on the issue of same-sex marriages

Five religious groups are joining together to call for same-sex marriage to be allowed in Scotland.

The Unitarians, Quakers, Metropolitan Community Church, Pagan Federation and Liberal Judaism are backing members of the Scottish Youth Parliament in their campaign on the issue.

Ministers are currently holding a consultation on same-sex marriages.

At the moment gay couples can have a civil ceremony but it cannot take place in religious premises.

Civil partnerships can only be registered by civil registrars.

The Scottish Youth Parliament and many gay rights campaigners want that to change.

Earlier this month the Scottish government launched a 14-week consultation on the issue of same-sex marriages and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships.

Ministers said their initial view was that same-sex marriages should be introduced but that no faith group or individual should be made to carry out the ceremonies to solemnise unions.

The Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has been fierce in its criticism of the proposals.

Bishop of Paisley Philip Tartaglia said a Scottish government which backed same-sex marriage did not deserve the support of the Catholic community.

An event being held at the Scottish Youth Parliament's offices in Edinburgh later aims to show that not all religious groups are of the same view.

Bishop Richard Holloway, former leader of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and Suzanne Dance, facilitator of the Buddhist Community of Interbeing, will also attend and speak in a personal capacity in favour of same-sex marriage.

A Scottish government spokeswoman said: "We have published a consultation on same-sex marriage and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships, and made clear that we tend towards the view that same-sex marriage should be introduced.

"However, we are aware that for religious reasons, some faith groups and celebrants may not want to solemnise same-sex marriages, and that is why we are making it clear that they should not be obliged to do so.

"We recognise that there will be a range of views on the consultation proposals, and we want to hear the views from all sections of Scottish society."

She added: "While the government has set out its initial view, we have also given an assurance that all views will be listened to. No final views have been reached and no decisions have been taken."

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