SNP MSP for the South of Scotland Dr Aileen McLeod has welcomed Wednesday night’s Stage 1 vote on the marriage and civil partnership bill.
The vote saw the bill, which will allow same-sex couples to marry, passed by 98 votes to 15 with 5 abstentions.
Dr McLeod, who voted for the bill said: “I am pleased that the marriage and civil partnership bill has passed through stage 1 of its scrutiny by the Parliament and has done so by a very large majority. I think that last night’s vote was a clear statement of intent by members of all political parties that we want Scotland to be an inclusive and equal society.
“For me this has always been an issue of conscience and a matter of principle. For me if two people who love each other and want to make that commitment through marriage then they should be able to do so if they can find a minister, priest or religious celebrant appropriate to their faith, who is willing to perform the ceremony.
“We are striving to create a Scotland that is fairer and more tolerant, where everyone is treated equally. That is why we believe that same sex couples should be allowed to marry. A marriage is about love, not gender. And that is the guiding principle at the heart of this bill.
“At the same time, we also want to protect freedom of speech and religion, and that’s what the bill sets out to do. That is why it will be up to the religious body or individual celebrant to decide if they want to perform same sex marriages and there will be no obligation to opt in.”