Consultation on the Draft Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill: Analysis of Written Responses

This report presents the findings of the independent analysis of responses to the Scottish Government's consultation on the draft Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill. The consultation ran from 12 December 2012 to 20 March 2013, and sought views on the detail of the legislation that will introduce same sex marriage, allow civil partnerships to be registered through religious or belief ceremonies and make other changes to marriage law.

2 Types And Number Of Responses

2.1 This section gives details on the ways in which responses were submitted, how many responses were analysed to produce the findings set out in this report and the profile of group respondents to the consultation.

Ways of submitting a response

2.2 Individual members of the public or organisations could submit a response to the consultation in a number of ways. On-line submissions could be made using a standard response form available on the Scottish Government website. Alternatively, electronic or hard copies of the standard response form could be posted or emailed to the Family Law Team at the Scottish Government.

2.3 Electronic or hardcopy non-standard responses (those that did not use the standard response form) were also accepted. These responses were varied and included those in letter format and some in which respondents had elected to answer only certain questions.

2.4 Three campaign groups (CARE for Scotland, Equality Network and Scotland for Marriage) encouraged people to submit a response to the consultation. Each of these campaigns provided suggested text for submission to the Scottish Government via their own website. The suggested texts are set out at Annex A to this report.

2.5 The three campaign groups provided suggested text for only some of the 18 questions set out within the consultation document. The content of each campaign was as follows:

  • CARE for Scotland provided non-editable text for nine questions (Questions 1, 5, 7-11, 13 and 16) and also included a space to make any further comments.
  • Equality Network provided a short introductory paragraph, non-editable text for seven questions (Questions 7-11, 17 and 18) and also included a space to make any further comments.
  • Scotland for Marriage provided suggested text for five questions (Questions 7-11). The text could be amended or added to, but there was no dedicated space to make further comments.

Number of responses received

2.6 The number of responses received according to the route through which they were submitted is set out in the table below. Please note that a small number of duplicate responses was received[4]. Where a clear duplicate or duplicates were submitted, the last response submitted by that respondent was retained[5]. There was also a small number of responses for which only a Respondent Information Form[6] was received (or only respondent information was entered into an online submission), without responses to any of the consultation questions. These responses have not been counted as analysable responses.

2.7 The figures presented in Table 1 below represent the total number of responses that underwent analysis[7].

2.8 The total number of analysable responses was 15,064. The majority of responses (73%) were campaign responses containing the suggested text only. A further 16% were amended campaign responses, in which the suggested text had been amended or a further comment had been made; 10% were submitted on the standard Scottish Government response form; and the remaining 1% were responses that did not use the standard response form and were not campaign responses.

Table 1: Number of responses by type of response

Type of response Number
Standard Scottish Government response form - total 1536
(Standard Scottish Government response form - online) (1366)
(Standard Scottish Government response form - hard copy or email) (170)
Non-standard[8] - hard copy or email 116
CARE for Scotland campaign - total 213
(CARE for Scotland campaign - suggested text only) (122)
(CARE for Scotland campaign - amended) (91)
Equality Network campaign - total 10828
(Equality Network campaign - suggested text only) (8972)
(Equality Network campaign - amended) (1856)
Scotland for Marriage campaign - total 2371
(Scotland for Marriage campaign - suggested text only) (1955)
(Scotland for Marriage campaign - amended) (416)
Total Responses 15064

2.9 All but 128 (or <1%) of responses were submitted by individual members of the public. A breakdown of the 128 group responses by type of group is set out in Table 2 below and a full list of all group respondents is included at Annex C to this report.

Table 2: Number of responses by type of group

Type of group Total
Religious or belief bodies 16
Individual religious institutions or groups of individual institutions 27
Religious or faith-based organisations 17
Political groups and unions 16
Local authorities 11
Other groups or organisations 41
Total Group Responses 128

2.10 Group respondents included 16 of the religious or belief bodies that currently solemnise marriages in Scotland, and 11 of the 32 Scottish local authorities that deliver the civil registrar function and employ Scotland's civil registrars.

2.11 The 'Other groups or organisations' category is made up of a diverse range of organisations, including professional bodies and associations, think tanks and independent statutory bodies. Responses were also received from a number of groups and organisations working in the third sector, some of which had clear religious affiliations. A number of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) and equality-focused campaign or support groups also submitted a response[9] and overall around 25 group respondents had clear connections with the LGBT community.


Email: Alison Stout

Back to top