It seems that the news today will certainly heat up the arguments between the Religious orthodoxy and the Scottish Government.
No doubt there will be protests, but with all parties of government approving this legislation, it will pass.
The Scottish Government has made it clear that the Churches will not be obligated to conduct weddings against their will, but that was a foregone conclusion anyway, because the Church is disestablished and by Scots Law, the Government cannot interfere with the laws of the Church.
It will be entirely up to the churches themselves if they are prepared to conduct such marriage ceremonies. At present, the Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland and a number of other churches,will not so allow.
So in the main, same sex marriage will have to take place in the registrars office in a civil ceremony. So nothing really changes all that much between civil partnership and marriage for them. At least any time soon.
Even if these Churches did consent, that would only be step one of the journey, a number of their ministers or priests may choose not to marry any same sex couple,as is their right to choose. They have the same choice when marrying heterosexual couples.
With the Catholic Church the decision would be made hierarchically and the decision passed down, with the priest having to obey the ruling,with no personal choice permitted.
With the Church of Scotland, they are still fighting amongst themselves,at the point of schism, over whether to allow gay ministers,having already appointed an openly gay one.
Their decision would be made in consultation with their presbyteries and churches at General Assembly. It will be next May before they make any decision on this matter.
I know that the Quakers and my own church, The United Reformed Church have signalled their approval.
The United Reformed Church in General Assembly passed a motion to allow churches to be used for ceremonies celebrating same sex marriage in the UK as of last month, and for when the legislation was allowed in law. It this instance, their decision was to leave the choice as matter of religious principle for each of their ministers, which is in line with the norm for Heterosexual marriages. A minister may choose to marry someone or not,and the decision is entirely up to them and of their own free will.
So it looks like I may be faced with that choice fairly soon!
The legislation will clearly pass, as it has the support of all parties, but goodness knows what that will do for the Tories and labour, who have both been courting the Orange Order recently! I think they will find that this most fundamentally extreme protestant group, will not approve of their support for the legislation!
What happens next? This proposed legislation will be put to the vote in the Scottish Parliament, and it will sail through. It is only a matter of time from there until it becomes law.
Times are a Changing as Bob Dylan once sang.
If you want to ask me any questions on this matter, feel free to ask.