Gay Weddings Hit The Highlands
It’s all systems go in the Highlands for wedding planners and wedding venues alike. On 21st December, this year, Civil Partnerships between same sex couples – commonly known as Gay Weddings – will be permitted throughout the UK. Already, some Scottish wedding planners report considerable interest from the gay and lesbian communities for the traditional ‘kilt and bagpipes’ wedding in a Highland castle or a luxury hotel.
But the arrival of equality in the wedding aisle north of the border has not been without its hiccups. As The Press and Journal reported on 4th August: “Highland councillors have recommended registrars only perform a basic registration – the absolute minimum required by the legislation…”
Not surprisingly this perceived homophobia caused an uproar in the gay and lesbian community, and among politicians at the national level. Intensive lobbying of the council began.
Other Scottish local authorities reacted differently. Perth and Kinross, Angus, Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute, Moray and Aberdeen City Councils, for example, all announced their unqualified acceptance of the spirit of the Civil Partnershp Act, as well as its letter.
The lobbying process, and some would say common sense and fairness as well, won the day. On 17th August, at another meeting of the Highland Council Resources Committee, the following was approved:
“a) that Civil Partnerships in Highland be registered in Registration Offices or in other locations agreed for the purpose subject to checks, where appropriate, to establish any health and safety issues which might affect staff in respect of alternative locations
b) that Registration takes the form of a simple registration, or a ceremony as requested by the partners”
And so, Scottish gay weddings websites are up and running, advertising campaigns have started, and wedding venues are having to think through the services they offer to same sex couples after years of catering only to heteros. It will be interesting and not a little exciting to see how they all fare. Whatever happens, the average Scot, Lowlander or Highlander, will be only too ready, willing and able to toast the happy couple with a wee dram of single malt. Slainte!