Margaret Smith: Government must show its support for same sex unions

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WE at the LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing are committed to equality and strongly support moves to allow same-sex marriage and civil partnerships.

The current system segregates people based on their sexual orientation and is therefore discriminatory.

LGBT Health knows from research and ongoing work that lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people of all ages and backgrounds still experience significant health problems, such as mental ill health, which are strongly linked to social exclusion and prejudice.

We believe ending marriage discrimination will have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of LGBT Scots.

We acknowledge the right of religious bodies and individuals to refuse to register civil partnerships or solemnise same-sex marriage on the grounds of their religious freedom. However, LGBT Health wants those religious bodies to acknowledge the religious freedoms of same-sex couples who wish to incorporate their faith in their partnership ceremony and of those churches who wish to assist them to do so.

Opening up the rights and responsibilities of marriage to consenting same-sex adults who love each other is a positive reaffirmation of the importance of commitment within relationships, not an attack on marriage.

The journey to greater equality and a more tolerant Scotland requires political will and courage. LGBT Health urges the Government to demonstrate both by saying yes to equal marriage.

Margaret Smith is a former MSP and a board member of the Edinburgh LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing