MSP says LGBT couples '˜welcome to marry in Scotland'

Strathkelvin and Bearsden's MSP has lodged a Holyrood motion supporting a planned July 1 demo by LGBT campaigners in Northern Ireland.

Rona Mackay MSP

Rona Mackay MSP has also stressed that Scotland is open to Northern Ireland people “who would like to marry whoever they choose”.

Her comments follow the move by UK Prime Minister Theresa May to regain a working majority at Westminster by trying to form a “confidence and supply” deal with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which Ms Mackay accuses of having “dated” views on relationships.

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After the June 8 General Election Mrs May’s Tory administration had hoped to increase its majority in order, it was said, to have better control of the Brexit negotiations.

Instead a surge of support for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign saw the Tories emerge with a smaller majority than before, and without the means to see off combined opposition.

Talks are currently still ongoing between the Tories and the DUP in a bid to agree a deal which could allow Mrs May to continue with a minority gov ernment.

Sexual equality issues and a perceived threat to Ireland’s Good Friday agreement - because of the claimed bias argued to be implicit in the DUP’s political stance on Irish issues - are among key concerns aired by opponents of the deal.

Opponents of an Tory-DUP alliance, however informal, also argue Scotland and other mainland UK countries should not be disadvantaged by deal-sweetener cash grants to Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile both Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and (fellow Tory) Scottish Secretary David Mundell MP have stressed their determination to maintain the mainstream UK approach to sexual equality.

Mrs May is said to have given Ms Davidson an assurance that her hoped-for deal with the DUP won’t interfere with Scotland’s very different laws.

Northern ireland is the only part of the UK where same-sex couples cannot legally marry.

However Ms Mackay says that until now many people have been unaware that LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender) people in Northern Ireland do not have the same rights as people in the rest of the UK,

Backing the planned demo by the Love Equality Coalition she said: “Many people have been shocked at the dated views of the Democratic Unionist Party when it comes to social policy like equal marriage and abortion.

“So I have lodged this motion to commend the work of the Love Equality Coalition in fighting for equal rights for everyone, no matter their sexuality.

“I repeat what I said in the motion, that Scotland is open to the people of Northern Ireland who would like marry whoever they choose.

“Scotland is an inclusive and welcoming nation for all.”