The Scottish Government formally announced it’s support for same-sex marriage on 25 July 2012 when responding to the results of its consultation on the matter. Nicola Sturgeon MSP, the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing (with responsibility for the issue) outlined the reasons for the Scottish Government’s support for same-sex marriage, stating; “In a country that aspires to be an equal and tolerant society, this is the right thing to do.”
In a statement to the Chamber of the Scottish Parliament, on 4 September 2012, the Rt. Hon. Alex Salmond MSP, First Minister of Scotland, announced that the Scottish Government planned to bring forward a bill to allow same-sex marriage within the legislative programme of the Parliamentary session, stating “In promoting a fairer Scotland, we will legislate for equal rights.”
On 12 December 2012 the Scottish Government published its draft Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill for consultation. Alex Neil MSP, the new Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing said; “We are introducing same-sex marriage in Scotland because it is the right thing to do. We are striving to create a Scotland that is free, tolerant and fair and I am pleased to say there is support across the chamber for this significant step.”
Once the draft bill 14 week consultation closes on 20 March 2013, and after the results are analysed, it is expected that the Scottish will make any neccessary changes and introduce a final version of the bill to the Scottish Parliament in Spring/Summer 2013.
Scottish Government ministers and SNP backbenchers will have a free vote on the issue, but the First Minister and all Cabinet Ministers have signed the Equality Network’s Equal Marriage Pledge commiting themselves to supporting same-sex marriage. The Scottish Government does not currently have any plans to allow mixed-sex civil partnership in Scotland.