Gay rights activists in Scotland held a mock lesbian wedding outside the Parliament building Monday to support the legalization of marriage equality, BBC reports.
Jaye and Ruth Richards-Hill took part in the ceremony, conducted by the Reverend Jane Clarke of the gay-affirming Metropolitan Community Church, outside Holyrood, the location of the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh, Scotland. The couple have been together for three years, according to the Daily Record, and were legally married in South Africa.
The law in Scotland, like in the rest of the U.K., allows civil partnerships between same-sex couples, but not marriages. Civil partnerships provide many of the same legal benefits as marriages, but while opposite-sex couples may opt for either a religious or civil marriage ceremony, civil partnerships are "exclusively civil" procedures.
The Scottish government is preparing to publish results of a 14-week consultation considering changes to the law, while officials in the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland have already voiced their opposition to marriage equality, with the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland delaring a "war against gay marriage." Novelist Anne Rice, whose son is gay writer Christopher Rice, blasted the church's declaration of war (see below).
After their mock wedding, the Richards-Hills delivered a 10,000-signature petition and letter to First Minister Alex Salmond demanding the government legalize same-sex marriages "without delay."
"All we want is equality; the same rights as everyone else," they said. "The Scottish government must now lift the ban on same-sex marriage, or explain to couples like us why we deserve to be treated like second-class citizens."
The government has stated it "tends towards the view" that marriage equality should be introduced, but not forced upon faith groups. Should the government decide to pursue legalizing marriage equality, a finalized bill could be introduced into the Scottish Parliament in 2013.