It always was a hostage to fortune with the SNP courting support from community gatekeepers presuming to speak for Scotland’s established Christian Churches when it came gay marriage.
When the Scottish Government announced last year that it would move to introduce gay marriage, there seemed little stopping it from doing so. The power to remove the restriction on two people of the same sex marrying was within Holyrood’s gift and any difficulties which would be presented by one region of the UK allowing gay marriage whilst others did not only would serve the hospitality and tourist industry in towns like Gretna Green.
Earlier this month, the RC Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Cardinal Keith O’Brien called for a referendum on the issue (although it is unclear if his professed support for plebiscites was present as a child, when the Scottish work ethic might have seen popular support for barring Roman Catholics from certain areas of employment), and this week another RC Archbishop whose weight suggests certain health problems made the suggestion that sexual orientation can lead to acute pancreatitis.
After multiple delays, the Scottish Government today has announced that gay marriage will be introduced in Scotland. But only if Westminster equalities legislation can be altered to ensure that disapproving Churches and officiants will not face prosecution if they refuse to conduct a ceremony in the same way, for instance, that those oppose divorce have been prosecuted for refusing to [re-]marry divorcees.