Way back in March, I wrote that Scotland's politicians had nothing to fear by changing the law to allow same sex couples to marry rather than just leave them with the option of civil partnerships, citing an Equality and Human Rights Commission Report which showed that the measure would have the support of nearly two thirds of the population. Policies which were cheap, easy to implement and popular were likely to be pretty rare in this election and when one falls into your lap, you'd be a bit daft not to take advantage of it.
Sadly, though, of the four main parties, only the Liberal Democrats offer a comprehensive commitment to offer marriage to same sex couples and civil partnerships to heterosexual couples.
Now, I say of the four main parties. However, in addition to that, I'd be very surprised if the Greens didn't support it in their manifesto when they get round to publishing it, to be fair to them. And, I have it confirmed on Twitter from James Mackenzie that this is indeed the case. The SSP also support the idea.
I've only really skimmed it, but I can't find anything even remotely touching on equality issues in the Tory manifesto. No surprise there.
The SNP and Labour both have a bit of a cop out - a consultation on the issue. If that's not kicking it into the long grass, I don't know what is. It certainly isn't demonstrating a commitment to equality. I mean, they didn't consult on ditching clause 2A, did they? They just did it.
The SNP say:
"We recognise the range of views on the question of same-sex marriage and registration of civil partnership. We will therefore begin a process of consultation and discussion on these issues"
"We will investigate the best way to implement the ‘Alli Amendment’ in Scotland, to give religious organisations that want to, the freedom to hold civil partnerships in their buildings for the first time. We also believe that the time is now right to consult on options to provide genuine equality for same-sex couples and their families, by addressing the different status of civil partnership and marriage. We are clear
Scotland shouldn’t be left behind on these issues."
Labour's language is a bit more heartfelt, it has to be said.
I'd say to Alex Salmond, imagine if there was a law forbidding marrying anyone more than 10 years apart in age. He and I would both be completely stuffed as we would not have had the same rights as everyone else to marry the people we love, being decanted into a slightly different process, marked out as separate in society. The ban on same sex marriage is just as arbitrary and needs to end.
Whatever the result of the election, I want to ensure that this isn't kicked into the long grass for the next five years.