The SNP led administration in Scotland held its own public consultation on same-sex marriages late last year. The consultation was met with much hostility from the Catholic Church in Scotland who are vehemently opposed to marriage equality. One senior member of the Catholic Church in Scotland described gay marriage as a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”. The Church also warned the SNP party it would lose the votes of Catholics in Scotland if it allowed gay and lesbian couples to marry.
The Catholic Church’s hostile reaction to the public consultation was widely criticised and opinion polls have put public support for marriage equality as being in the majority. The SNP had previously stated it was “inclined” to introduce marriage equality in Scotland depending on the results of the consultation. It was originally expected the results would be announced in June but were unexpected delayed.
If Scotland did decide to legalise gay marriages it would become the first part of the UK to do so. It would also create an interesting equality imbalance in the UK as gay and lesbians in Scotland would be legally allowed to marry but those in England and Wales would not. It could result in couples traveling to Scotland to take advantage of the marriage laws there.
The coalition government has held a consultation on gay marriage in England and Wales – it closed last month. It is widely expected that gay marriage will be legalised in the rest of the UK with Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, promising such a move “by 2015″.