Scotland passes gay marriage. How did religious liberties fare?

By Stephen Richer

Of great interest to this blog is the unfolding relationship between gay marriage and freedom of conscious / freedom of religion.   So far, all U.S. states with gay marriage have at least some exemptions for religious institutions.  Some also protect religiously affiliated groups.  (see this chart and this chart).  But no states yet protect for-profit, non-religious businesses run by devout individuals (think Elane Photography).

Nor does Scotland.  Today, February 4, 2014, Scotland passed gay marriage by a vote of 105 to 18.  Yay!!!!  But religious exemptions/protections were pretty limited:

  • Religious and belief bodies opt in to perform same-sex marriage.
  • Civil marriage ceremonies can take place anywhere agreed by the registrar and the couple, other than religious premises.
  • Celebrants who are part of an organisation which has not opted in would not be allowed to conduct same-sex marriages.
  • Individual celebrants who felt it would go against their faith to carry out same-sex weddings would be protected.

This basically just covers “big religion” and those employed by “big religion.”

More evidence that if the political right doesn’t get involved in the movement soon then the gay marriage that passes will not be super respectful of religious disagreement?

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