On May 28th, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Alex Neil, told the Scottish Parliament that the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill will be introduced in the Scottish Parliament before the summer recess. That recess starts on 29th June, so we expect the bill to be published some time next week. He also told the Parliament that he hoped soon to announce a review of the future of civil partnerships in Scotland. A similar review for England and Wales was recently announced by the UK Government.
There is more on the Scottish Government’s civil partnership review proposals in the front page headline story of today’s Herald.
The Equality Network has always supported opening civil partnership to mixed-sex couples. We think the same choices, marriage and civil partnership, should be open to couples regardless of gender, as is the case in a number of other countries such as the Netherlands. Mixed-sex civil partnership has always been part of the equal marriage campaign in Scotland.
It’s important to note a couple of things about the proposed review:
Mixed-sex civil partnership will not be included in the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill which has been promised for next week. Instead the proposal is for a review of civil partnership to take place over the next year or so, with the prospect of legislation after that.
As we understand it, the review will consider different options for the future of civil partnership, including opening it up to couples regardless of their gender, or abolishing it altogether.