Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill call for views

Posted by on 1 January, 2020 | 0 comments

The Scottish Government are consulting on proposals to remove the gender qualification for civil partnerships, i.e. that they would be available to couples not of the same sex. The consultation can be found here and anyone is welcome to respond, although the deadline is this Friday. The consultation also deals with some of the consequential matters that would arise from the proposed change in the law.

The Society has responded to the consultation as follows:


The Scottish Secular Society seeks to work towards a Scotland in which no person is disadvantaged by their adherence (or not) to any faith or religious belief in their life as a Scottish citizen, where that disadvantage may arise from the expression of religious privilege or prejudice in the civic life of our nation.

The Society’s response to the call for views

1. What is your view of the Bill’s approach to achieving equality by making civil partnerships available to different sex couples, rather than closing future civil partnerships to all couples?

Marriage as an institution is rooted in ancient cultural practices brought from many places and traditions, and is practised in Scotland in many diverse ways, which is to be celebrated. Traditionally, marriage has been regarded as reserved to people of opposite sexes and religious traditions can attach dominant, patriarchal roles to the male partner and subservient, maternal and child-bearing roles to the female partner.

This cultural tradition differentiating the roles of male and female partners in marriage is one that many people are today citing as a reason that they do not wish to enter into a marriage, although they do wish to signify their mutual commitment and equality through a publicly-recognised and legal institution such as civil partnership. We strongly support this aspiration and welcome the proposal to remove the gender qualification from civil partnerships in Scotland.

For the reasons stated above, we consider that equality is better advanced by making civil partnerships available to all couples, irrespective of their genders, rather than closing civil partnerships to everyone. Civil partnerships carry no historic or cultural expectations about the roles of each person in the relationship and provide an equal-rights foundation for couples to live their future lives together, without culturally-prescribed expectations about roles.

It remains up to each couple to celebrate their partnerships as they see fit, and we have no objection to those partnerships being made and celebrated within religious communities.

2. What will the impact of the Bill and its provisions be on you, your community or your organisation? Give consideration as to whether there is any impact on human rights or equality issues for any particular groups of people.

The provisions of the Bill, should they be enacted, will not impact on the Scottish Secular Society, except that those provisions advance the civil secularism which is our objective.

3. The Bill will make consequential changes to existing legislation to carry through the effect of the main change. Do you have any comment to make on these changes?

No comment.
4. Is there anything else about civil partnerships that should be included in (or excluded from) the Bill? If so, what changes would you like to see and why? Please explain your reasons.

No comment.

5. Will the Bill result in any resource implications for your organisation or you as an individual? If so, please explain and provide any supporting information.

No comment.

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