It’s Time for a Vote

This week we get to a significant point in the campaign for more equal marriage law in Scotland. On Wednesday there will be a vote in the parliament at Holyrood. Whilst there has been a lot of pre-scrutiny of the legislation and a long political process already, this is the first time that members of parliament get to vote on the legislation.

At the moment, it looks as though there will be a commanding victory for those who want to see change. However, nothing should ever be presumed and people are still contacting their Members of Parliament to urge them to be supportive on Wednesday.

Interestingly, the vote itself is indicative of residual prejudice. It is still apparently acceptable to political parties to have their members being seen to deny the rights of gay people. They are having a free vote – that means there will be no political consequences to anyone voting against party policy on this matter.

Several analogies are helpful here – mixed race marriage, suicide/euthanasia, capital punishment and abortion. You see, if anyone was foolish enough to force a vote on whether black people could get married to white people then the parties would make it a whipped vote. (And let us not be silly enough to believe that such discrimination is a fantasy – I’ve members of my congregation who have lived under racist legislation concerning relationships). Should there ever be a vote to restrict the right of a mixed-race couple to marry then political parties would be queuing up firstly to condemn the idea of a vote in the first place and then to ensure that every one of their members voted the right way. There would be no question of a free vote or it being a “conscience issue”. When it comes to the gays, it is suddenly different.

Looking the other way, consider the votes that are traditionally free votes – they tend to be things like whether to allow euthenasia, whether to bring back hanging and what laws should apply to abortion. Making the votes on whether to allow same-sex couples to get hitched free (ie unwhipped) votes lumps this issue right in with those issues.

Now, straight friends, let me ask you. How would you feel if your own relationship (or potential for relationship) was regarded by parliamentary parties as being akin to euthenasia, hanging and the termination of a pregnancy? If you think it is unreasonable for your gay friends to be treated likewise then there are several things you can do. Firstly, if you are in Scotland then get in touch with your MSPs before Wednesday and urge them to support the proposed changes. (It just takes 2 minutes – see here). Remember, the political parties won’t be doing this – there’s just you to remind them. Secondly, look out for the news and keep up with when the next stages of this voting procedure are. Chances are we are looking at a final vote in the early stages of the new year. Thirdly tell others why you are supportive of this change. Fourthly, if you are a blogger, share your views as to why it’s time for change and pass the video below along. For another persective from St Mary’s on why it’s time, check out Beth’s blog.

And fifthly, take a look at this video one more time and enjoy the positive, joyful campaigning that has been characteristic of this struggle. There’s folk in it that you know. Trust me…


  1. Bro David says

    I didn’t know that they actor on the Good Wife was a Scotsman!

  2. I think you mean Alan Cumming – though I’ve never see the Good Wife.

    Alan is certainly Scottish and can be seen along with someone else you know on the front cover of this publication.

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