Stage One – Now
The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament in June and is currently going through Stage One of the legislative process, which means it is being considered by the Scottish Parliament Equal Opportunities Committee.
Stage Two – December/January
If the bill passes its Stage One vote, it will move to Stage Two, where the Equal Opportunities Committee will scrutinise it and make amendments. Stage Two is likely to take place between December and January 2014.
Stage Three – March
The bill will then move to Stage Three where the whole Scottish Parliament will consider whether to make any additional amendments, or to overturn any amendments made by the committee. There will then be a final debate and vote on the bill. This will probably happen by March 2014.
Challenge Period – April?
If it is passed there will be a four week period when the bill may be challenged by the UK government. It is unlikely that the bill will be challenged as this usually only occurs if a bill is deemed to be outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament (i.e. not a devolved matter).
Royal Assent – May?
After the four week period has expired the Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer will submit the bill for Royal Assent in order for it to become an act of the Scottish Parliament.
And then, just like in the UK, there may be a 12 month implementation period – so at the earliest, we’re looking at Summer next year, and more likely sometime in 2015.