Apparently, the apocalypse has begun in Scotland.
Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish Deputy First Minister, today confirmed she will bring forward legislation but said it will include “important protections” for clergymen, teachers and parents who oppose the move.
She said she is working with the Home Office to amend UK equalities laws to ensure that celebrants cannot be prosecuted by gay couples if they refuse to conduct a marriage service.
But the SNP administration faces a backlash from religious leaders after the results of a public consultation, published to coincide with the announcement, showed 64 per cent of respondents opposed the change.
Only 36 per cent backed the move but Miss Sturgeon argued that other surveys showed a majority are in favour. A record 77,000 people responded to the consultation, three times as many as gave their views on the independence referendum.
The Deputy First Minister said the first gay marriages in Scotland are likely to take place at the start of 2015, the same year that the Coalition Government wants to make the change south of the Border.
Forget the issue that even when you removed the Roman Catholic postcard campaign submissions to the consultation there was still a majority against the move, the real debate is how the lawyers will handle the possibility of gay marriage being legal north of the border but not south of it. For example, imagine a male couple get married north of the border and then demand to be identified as married south of it (for example on a government form). What will the response be?
Interesting legal dilemmas ahead…