At midnight the Scottish Government 14 week public consultation on proposals to lift the ban on same-sex marriage came to a close.
The consultation looks set to be one of the biggest – if not the biggest – public consultation since the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999.
Though it is difficult to tell the exact number of people that responded to the consultation until the analysis is complete, the early indications are that over 50,000 individuals and organisations responded.
At least 24,000 of these responses were in favour of same-sex marriage. Most of these (18, 500) were submitted by people across Scotland via the Equality Network’s Equal Marriage consultation webpage (http://www.equalmarriage.org.uk/consultation) and paper forms. A further 2000 were collected by the Scottish Youth Parliament, 2500 by NUS Scotland, and 1000 by LGBT Youth Scotland. None of this could have been achieved without the hard work of individuals and partner organisations across Scotland.
A diverse range of organisations have also responded in favour, including trade unions, youth and student movements, faith groups, local authorities and equality and human rights organisations.
Tom French, Policy Coordinator for the Equality Network, said; “It is great to see that so many people have taken the time and effort to put across their own views and speak out for equality in Scotland. We hope that the Scottish Government will listen attentively to the strength of the arguments made, and bring forward equal marriage legislation as soon as possible.”
The next steps are likely to be as follows:
- Dec 9 2011 – Consultation closes.
- Jan 2012 – Consultation responses contracted out for analysis.
- Mar 2012 – Analysis published.
- Spring 2012 – Scottish Government decide whether to legalise same-sex marriage
- Summer 2012 – Draft Bill drawn up (?)
- Autumn 2012 – Public consultation on draft bill (?)
- Autumn/Winter 2012 – Analysis published (?)
- Late 2012/early 2013 – Equal Marriage bill debated in parliament (?)
- Early 2013 – MSPs vote on Equal Marriage bill (?)
- 2014 - First same-sex marriage in Scotland (?)
To read the Equality Network consultation response please click below: