[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 7 August, 2004, 08:31 GMT 09:31 UK
Gays in the pink over trust move
Brodie Castle
Historic settings will be on offer for gay couples on their big day
Homosexual and gay couples have welcomed a decision by heritage chiefs to give their blessing to gay weddings in some of their properties.

Bosses of the National Trust for Scotland will work on the plans with a Surrey-based firm, Pink Weddings.

Legislation giving civil union rights and responsibilities to same-sex couples is expected to come into force later this year.

The Civil Partnerships Bill was unveiled in March.

The term "gay marriage" is not used in the Commons bill, but the Civil Partnership Registration Scheme appears to have been designed to be as close to a marriage contract as possible.

An un-holy row erupted when the same-sex wedding project was introduced by the National Trust in England and Wales.

The charity, the country's second biggest landowner, was criticised by groups such as the Christian Institute, which accused it of "pandering to political correctness".

TOP CHOICES
Culzean Castle
Pollock House
Brodick Castle
Brodie Castle
Castle Fraser
Alloa Tower
Greenbank Garden

Fears have been voiced that the move to allow gay couples to tie the civil knot in its stately homes and castles could lead to a loss of some support for the National Trust for Scotland (NTS).

But Carly Lamberty, marketing manager for the trust, which owns 126 properties across the country, said: "We are very excited about the collaboration and look forward to working with Pink Weddings at key venues.

"We are happy to do this. We're a charity, so if anyone decides to come to our properties, they are helping us to look after our heritage for future generations to enjoy."

Venues offered will range from the "finest historic houses and gorgeous gardens to stunning castles and atmospheric abbeys".

Susan Douglas-Scott, co-convener of the West of Scotland Lesbian and Gay Forum, said: "We are absolutely delighted about this. It's a step forward in the 21st century. We are looking for as much support as possible for the bill.

"It's a great example. I'm delighted and I hope other public bodies will follow suit. The message from the National Trust is that gay people are customers too."

The sky will not fall in when this bill is passed
Derek Ogg QC
Gay rights campaigner

Ms Douglas-Scott, who is planning to take part in a civil ceremony with her partner "as soon as possible" added: "We are not allowed to use churches or mosques for this - so we are still being discriminated against.

"Public bodies should be accommodating to all groups and should welcome diversity.

"It's not as if ceremonies will be happening the whole time. It's a private party and the more radical members of the National Trust would not be involved."

Gay rights campaigner and lawyer, Derek Ogg QC, insisted: "I and most other gay people are law-abiding, rate-paying citizens and the National Trust exists to provide facilities for all the people of this country.

Trust praised

"The National Trust would certainly lose my support, and that of thousands of other gay people, if it did anything else."

Mr Ogg, who is chairman of the Faculty of Advocates' Criminal Bar Association added: "The National Trust will have absolutely no alternative once this bill becomes law. It would be outrageous and unlawful to discriminate against gay people.

"The sky will not fall in when this bill is passed."


SEE ALSO:
B&B denies gay couple double room
30 Jun 04  |  Scotland
At-a-glance: Gay partnerships
31 Mar 04  |  Politics
Kirk triggers marriage row
03 Dec 03  |  Scotland


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific