Delaying a decision on gay marriage could spell trouble for Salmond

The Scottish government caused outrage this week by postponing a decision on gay marriage.

E-mail-sign-up Donate


The Scottish government caused outrage this week by postponing a decision on gay marriage.

alex-salmondThe only progress to come out of the talks is their decision not to put it to a referendum.

The Huffington Post reports:

The Scottish government has failed to reach a decision on whether to introduce legislation for gay marriage after Alex Salmond’s cabinet could not agree on how same-sex weddings should work.

However ministers have at least agreed that the issue will not be put to a referendum.

The Scotsman believes that the delay could send out the “wrong message” on gay marriage:

Yesterday’s announcement that the government will not meet the Church’s demands for a referendum will provide some succour to the many SNP MSPs who believe a modern Scotland should recognise same-sex marriage. But at the same time theywill be dismayed by yesterday’s non-event.

Ministers have had seven months to consider the issues. As far as those who believe in same-sex marriage are concerned, yesterday’s prevarication sends out the wrong message at a time when the SNP could be setting the agenda across the UK.

The momentum in favour of same-sex marriage is almost unstoppable, and any attempt to slow down would damage the government’s reputation.

Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie has already criticised the delay, saying:

“‘I would urge the first minister to stand firm against powerful opponents, heal any divides in his own cabinet and take a lead on equality in marriage.”


See also:

Comment: Independence is denting the SNP’s radicalism 17 Jul 2012

Time for slippery Salmond to answer for his “toe-curling fawning over Rupert Murdoch” 11 Jun 2012

The 25 questions over the SNP’s Murdoch links 19 Jul 2011


Policy coordinator for the Equality Network, Tom French, said:

“It is time the Scottish Government demonstrated its leadership on this issue and announced a decision. Same-sex marriage is supported by the majority of Scots and the majority of MSPs. The government have had seven months to analyse the consultation responses and to deal with the detail. We cannot understand why there is any need for further delay.

“The government created huge expectation, not least amongst national and international press, and have failed to deliver today.

It is unfair to keep dangling the prospect of equality in front of LGBT people, only to snatch it further away again. The Government should now set a date for announcing their decision, and stick to it.

The Leader in the Scotsman today says:

If ministers feel they need extra time to work on their final proposal and how it will be presented to the public, then that is fine. Let them take the extra fortnight they say they need. But let them be in no doubt that when the
allotted time runs out, the right decision will be to bring forward legislation which will enshrine the right of two people to marry, regardless of their gender.

So much for the SNP being a party of progressives – is Salmond now allowing his right-wing mate Murdoch to write his policies for him?


Sign-up to our weekly email • Donate to Left Foot Forward

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.