Amendments to the marriage equality legislation providing protection for those opposed to it for religious reasons has been rejected by the Equal Opportunities Committee (EOC).
On Thursday, December 19, the EOC voted against changes to the bill, which would allow protection for religious bodies, potential foster and adoptive parents, and public authority workers who do not support same-sex marriage.
The committee was intended to vote on the amendments before MPs (Members of Parliament) voted on the final Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill in 2014.
MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament) Richard Lyle proposed changes that would mean adoptive and foster parents’ views on marriage equality would not be taken into consideration during the adoption and fostering process.
He said that those who are opposed to same-sex marriage could face discrimination in the process and deemed homophobic, and therefore may not be deemed suitable as parents.
Committee member Marco Biagi opposed this view, saying there would be a concern if a child was cared for by a same-sex couple and then moved to a household disapproving of their previous arrangements.
Health Secretary Alex Neil said, “I do not consider it necessary to amend the law on fostering and adoption in relation to same-sex marriage. It is already the case that views on same-sex marriage cannot disqualify anyone from becoming a foster carer or an adoptive parent.”
Despite the EOC voting against the amendments, considerable steps are already in place to ensure those opposed to marriage equality have protection and rights. Scotland now has the opt-in system for performing same-sex marriages rather than the opt-out.
A public opinion poll conducted in June 2012 by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the Equality Network suggested that 64 percent of Scots supported same-sex marriage, whereas only 26 percent opposed.