Yesterday, on Valentine’s day (February 14 2012), more than 1000 people took to the streets of Edinburgh show their support for same sex marriage.
The demonstration, which began at Bristo Square in front of the University, carried a large Valentine’s Day card to First Minister Alex Salmond with the message: “Roses are white, thistles are blue, we believe in equal marriage and we hope the Scottish Government will too!
The march finished with a rally outside the Scottish Parliament, where the crowd was addressed by Scottish Youth Parliament chairman Grant Costello, SNP MSP Marco Biagi, Patrick Harvie, co-leader of the Greens, and Marilyn Jackson, of the Humanist Society of Scotland.
A transcript of Marilyn’s speech is below…
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak on behalf of the Humanist Society Scotland.
The Humanist Society aims to promote a secular Scotland, where there is equal treatment of everyone, regardless of religion, belief, or non-belief.
Humanist weddings are now the third most popular form of marriage in Scotland and we conduct more weddings than the Catholic Church.
And Humanists believe, that the reasons for – and the benefits of – marriage are universal, irrespective of the gender and sexuality of the couple.
The people of Scotland must not allow the “religious right” to hijack this issue, because….
ALL marriages are a legal contract supervised by the state.
The state allows religious officiants to conduct marriages, but all permission is derived from, and controlled by, the state.
In 2010, 58 % of marriages in Scotland were secular – and that proportion is increasing.
The trend towards a belief in a secular Scotland is also increasing, with younger people in particular having a more secular outlook; young people are the future!
It is with sadness, that we, reluctantly, support the clause in the Bill which allows any religious celebrant to refuse to conduct same sex ceremonies – but groups who oppose this bill should reflect that, while no person or group may discriminate against them on the grounds of religion, in this bill, religion is being allowed to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples!
The Humanist Society’s position, is that both civil partnership and marriage should be available to any couple (same or mixed sex) in either form (religious or non-religious).
We support the commitment of the Scottish Government and of all the main political parties in uniting to achieve a fair and inclusive Scotland – and we stand ready to play our part.
Scotland has been at the centre of progressive and civilised values since the Reformation and the Enlightenment. This is a heritage the majority of Scottish adults want to see going further now.
From our experience of conducting thousands of marriages a year in Scotland, we know how important such occasions are.
This re-enforces our position, that all the people of Scotland deserve to be able to choose a ceremony to reflect their lives and their beliefs, as well as their love for one another.
The Humanist Society believes this a matter of religious freedom, love, choice, and equality.
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