Scottish legalise gay marriage despite majority opposition
SCOTLAND will become the first part of the UK to legalise religious same-sex marriages, even though two-thirds of people in an official consultation were against the change.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday confirmed she would bring forward legislation, but said it would include "important protections" for clergymen, teachers and parents who oppose the move.
She and the Home Office are working to amend equality laws so celebrants cannot be prosecuted by homosexual couples if they refuse to conduct a marriage service.
But the Scottish National Party faces a backlash from religious leaders after the results of a public consultation showed 64pc of respondents opposed the change. A record 77,000 people responded, three times as many as in a similar consultation on the independence referendum.
Ms Sturgeon said the first homosexual marriages were likely to take place in early 2015, the same year the coalition wants to make the change in England and Wales.
The Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church have attacked the proposals, warning they will destroy the institution of marriage.
But Ms Sturgeon said: "We are committed to a Scotland that is fair and equal, and that is why we intend to proceed with plans to allow same-sex marriage and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships."
A bill will be tabled in the Scottish parliament next year when members can vote in line with their consciences. (© Daily Telegraph, London)