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Page last updated at 08:31 GMT, Tuesday, 17 July 2012 09:31 UK

Scottish cabinet to discuss gay marriage law


Scotland could become the first part of the UK to introduce gay marriage. The Scottish cabinet will be discussing whether to legislate for it today.

Such a move would meet fierce resistance from the Catholic Church. Its leader in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, has described the plans as "madness".

John Deighan, from the parliamentary office of Scotland's Catholic Church, told Today presenter Sarah Montague that "if they go ahead, which we seriously hope that they don't, they will undermine religious freedom, freedom of speech.

"They will impact on people across society who refuse to change their understanding of human sexuality to fit in with the agenda of those who propose same sex marriage."

But the SNP MSP Jim Eadie, who is gay and wants the government to legislate for gay marriage, said there are provisions in the proposals which should allay their fears.

"There are two cornerstones to this debate. One is equality but the other one is freedom of religion. No church which does not hold to the teachings which would allow same sex couples to be married, is going to be forced to do this.

"It's very important that freedom of religion is protected on both sides of the argument, both for those churches that do not want to do it, but also for those churches like the Quakers and others, who do wish to perform same sex marriage."

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