Christian News from Scotland

News stories from Scotland and beyond

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Capital of Shame

EDINBURGH has become the "gay weddings" capital of Scotland after it emerged more couples are travelling to the city for civil partnerships than anywhere else.

Tourism chiefs today said they were looking at more ways to attract gay couples from overseas to marry in Edinburgh. They believe gay weddings are lucrative way of attracting the "pink pound" because gay couples are frequent travellers and big spenders.

The first figures released on civil partnerships have shown 76 took place in Edinburgh in the first three months of 2006. Legislation making such ceremonies legal in Scotland was only passed in December last year. The second most popular destination was Glasgow, where 59 gay and lesbian couples "wed".

Tourism already plays a major part in the Edinburgh economy, and VisitScotland plans to build on the Capital's attraction to same-sex couples. A spokeswoman for VisitScotland said:

"Internationally this market appears to be growing. Twenty-four per cent of gay travellers from the US took four or more international trips in the last three years. They have a high propensity to shop and take a lot of short breaks while on holiday. It is a very lucrative area."

City council leader Donald Anderson said the first months of civil partnerships had been a success.

"What we are doing in Edinburgh is obviously working and we should build on the success of the city as an overall tourism destination," he said.

However, not everyone has welcomed Edinburgh's success in appealing to gay couples.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said: "We as a society do a disservice to all our fellow sisters and brothers when we undermine the reality of marriage. The natural social organism of the female-male."

Meanwhile, the Church of Scotland is deciding whether to allow ministers to give religious blessings at civil partnerships. The matter is being debated by presbyteries across Scotland and a decision is expected to be made during the Kirk's next General Assembly meeting in May, 2007.

In Scotland as a whole there were 259 ceremonies involving gay couples between the start of January and the end of March. Another 84 were held in the final few days of 2005, immediately after the legislation was introduced.

Registrar General Duncan Macniven said: "Local registrars have been exemplary in introducing this new legislation, helping same-sex partners to have a relaxed and happy experience on their important day."

The Capital was the second most popular location for marriages, with 338 taking place in the first three months of 2006. It represented a slight fall on the same months of 2005, when there were 401 weddings in the city.

The figures, released by the Scottish Executive, also detail the number of births in the country. A total of 1165 children were born in Edinburgh between January and March, the second highest of any local authority area in Scotland, behind Glasgow on 1631.

In Scotland there were 13,568 births. There were more babies born than in the same months last year when there were 1087 births in Edinburgh, and 13,352 across Scotland.

Meanwhile, there were 1189 deaths in Edinburgh between January and March 2006, again the second highest in Scotland behind Glasgow where there were 1887, with 14,876 people dying across the country. This represented a fall from 15,617 deaths across Scotland, and 1213 in Edinburgh alone, during the first three months of 2005.

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