Labour MSP Elaine Smith: Why not legalise polygamy? if gays are allowed to marry

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Labour MSP Elaine Smith has been criticised for mentioning polygamy in the debate for equal marriage in Scotland.

The MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston said there was “no logic” for discriminating against more than two people getting married.

Ms Smith stated: “Whilst the government has said that it has no intention of allowing polygamous marriages as part of this legislation which changes the essential nature of marriage, it has not explained in any detail and with research analysis its reasons for taking that position.

“Further, if the government is sincere about its support for ‘equal love’ then it appears to have a contradiction on its hands.”

There is “no logical reason” for discriminating against more than two people getting married if the redefinition of marriage is driven by love, Ms Smith added.

In response, Tim Hopkins, the director of Scotland’s Equality Network, said: “It is nonsense to suggest that this bill will lead to polygamous marriages in Scotland, and it is quite wrong to suggest that the campaign for equal marriage has anything to do with polygamy.”

“There are around 50 countries in the world which allow polygamous marriage, and in all cases this has come from religious law, or traditional law, not from modern equality considerations. By all means, let’s debate this bill, but let’s have a respectful debate on what the bill actually does, not one about something completely different that no-one is proposing.”

Ms Smith, who is also deputy presiding officer in the Scottish Parliament, announced she was opposed to equal marriage in June.

Speaking at a Scotland for Marriage event – the Scottish anti-gay campaign group against equal marriage – she said: “As a legislator, I intend to vote against this bill and I believe that I am in tune with the wishes of the majority of my constituents.

“I certainly don’t believe that I’m homophobic. However, I have no doubt that I will be made to suffer for my views on this issue and by voting against I will undoubtedly be labelled homophobic.”