The first gay couple to be married in Scotland have expressed “gut-wrenching” sadness about the quashing of a bid for a civil partnership by a heterosexual couple.
Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan have been fighting for their right to enter into a civil partnership, at present only available to same-sex couples. They argue it is discriminatory and should be open to all.
Last week they lost their legal challenge when the Court of Appeal said the UK Government should be allowed more time to consider the issue.
Scott and David Barclay, who live in Renfrew, were the first couple to officially marry in Scotland in December 2014 when legislation was drafted to allow same-sex couples to wed.
In a letter in The Herald today, they voiced their support in the couple’s fight for equality.
Scott said: “There were an awful lot of straight allies who believed in the fight for same-sex marriage, those who really helped us, believed in it and campaigned staunchly for it.
“I think as LGBT people we have got to stand with them, and say ‘this is wrong. Yes you may be a heterosexual couple, but this is our fight as well’.”
Scott, 36, and David, 35, have been a couple for 14 years. They had a civil partnership ceremony in 2007 and then became a married couple in Glasgow in 2014.
Since then the duo, who both work in finance, have also actively campaigned for equality and diversity, speaking in schools and community centres and working with groups including LGBT Youth Scotland, Stonewall, Scotland, and the Equality Network.
Scott was nominated for the European Campaigner of the Year award last year and is also the chairman of the Sunday Herald-backed Icon awards, which recognised those working for diversity and inclusion in Scotland,
Scott said the Court of Appeal’s ruling last week on the civil- partnership bid was wrong, particularly because one of the judges, Lady Justice Arden, admitted “the appellants are right”, but was outvoted by two fellow judges.
He added: “In what other case can it be that an actual ruling judgment agrees Rebecca and Charles are probably being discriminated against, yet it’s okay and they’re going to let it happen?
“I think in 2017 that’s madness. David and I, along with so many other people and organisations, are championing diversity and equality among all people and it makes us really angry it’s not been reached.
“You can’t be a wee bit equal, it’s an absolute: you either are or you’re not, so until equality is reached in the country, there’s still a lot more to do.”
Speaking on his life with husband David after being married, he said: “It’s not different to how we lived before – we’re still in the same house, have the same dog, have the same bills.
“We are not any different, we do not live in this bubble. We’re sons, daughters, next-door neighbours.That is our message. The only differ- ence is we feel our relationship has been validated by marriage.
“We went to weddings with family and friends, but knew we weren’t allowed it.
“We believe in marriage and equality, and that we are just as important as each other.
“But it’s about choice. Some people don’t believe in marriage, as it doesn’t adequately represents their relationship or commitment.
“People have more in common than they have apart and we’ve got to work together.”
Ms Steinfeld and Mr Keidan live in Hammersmith, London, and have a 20-month-old daughter. They say the Government’s position is “incompatible with equality law” and said they will continue their fight to the Supreme Court and spend at least £25,000 on another appeal.
Written By: Fiona McKay