Scotland to fast-track same sex 'marriage' bill
The Scottish Government will fast-track its same sex ‘marriage’ bill through Parliament over the next six months, with the aim of introducing the legislation by March 2014.
MSPs published the bill at Holyrood at the end of June, just weeks before the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act was passed in England and Wales.
The Equal Opportunities Committee is now scheduled to begin detailed consideration of the bill on Thursday (5th September).
Double evidence sessions
It will hold a number of double - rather than single - evidence sessions to hasten the progress of this stage, after which the legislation will face further detailed scrutiny by Parliament.
Evidence will be heard from several organisations on Thursday alone, including Stonewall Scotland, the Scottish Transgender Alliance,the Methodist Church in Britain and the Evangelical Alliance Scotland.
But concerns have been raised over how Parliament will cope with the lengthy process of examination with only 129 members, and rules that do not permit committees to meet when the Chamber is in session.
However, the Scottish Government has said it is keen to push the bill through Parliament as soon as possible, and for it to receive Royal Assent early next year.
A Government source said: “After previous accusations about delays you can be sure that there will be no hold-ups on this.”
A spokesman for the Catholic church in Scotland commented: “You can only see this as undue haste. It looks like a bandwagon that no-one has been minded to take in the right direction.
“They ought to remember that if you make law in haste you do not get the best legislation.”