Responding to the publication of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill, Simon Barrow, co-director of the religion and society thinktank Ekklesia, who is based in Edinburgh, said:
"This draft Bill is a major step forward for marriage equality in Scotland and in these islands as a whole. Equally importantly, it enshrines freedom of conscience and religion in its provisions.
"It rightly allows, but deliberately does not compel, religious and humanist bodies to conduct same-sex marriages, according to their own traditions.
"Under this proposed law, those who dissent from equal marriage are free not to recognise it within their own communities. But they cannot stop those of religious or non-religious conviction who wish to celebrate it from doing so. That is only right and fair.
"We will now be looking at the details as part of the public consultation."
* Ekklesia's official response to Scottish Government proposals on same-sex marriage (10 December 2011) - http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/15883