Gay Activists Protest in Front of Scottish Parliament With 'Mock Marriage'

About 150 people attended a mock gay wedding ceremony Monday in front of the Scottish parliament house, Holyrood, to push for the legalization of same-sex marriage.

The event, which was organized by gay activist group The Equality Network, involved the "marriage" of Jaye and Ruth Richards-Hill, a Christian couple from Glasgow previously legally married in South Africa.

The Rev. Jane Clarke of the Metropolitan Community Church performed the mock ceremony, which was meant to push the legalization of same-sex marriage in Scotland as well in its churches.

"My church, like many others, wants the right to conduct same-sex marriages. For us this is an issue of equality and religious freedom," Clarke told The Daily Record.

"Religious bodies should have the right to conduct same-sex marriages if they want to, and we trust the Scottish Government will respect our religious freedoms too," she added.

After the mock ceremony, protesters passed around a 10,000-signature petition addressed to First Minister Alex Salmond, urging the government to "announce equal marriage legislation without delay," according to the BBC News.

The protest comes shortly before the Scottish government is to publish its 14-week public consultation on the issue of legalizing same-sex marriage.

The Catholic Church of Scotland has expressed its disapproval of same-sex marriage, as well as its disapproval of how the government has handled the topic.

"In common with the historic position of the Christian Church, the Church of Scotland has always viewed marriage as being between one man and one woman. Scriptural references to marriage, whether literal or metaphorical, all operate under this understanding," the Church of Scotland said in a statement .

Additionally, the Catholic Church of Scotland stated that it believes parliament's consultation of the same-sex marriage debate will be "patchy, underdeveloped and exclusive of both ordinary people and the religious community."

The Catholic Church is currently raising funds for "Support Marriage Sunday," a nationwide event being held Aug. 26 in support of traditional marriage.

Tom French, policy coordinator of The Equality Network, told The Daily Record that the Catholic Church spending money on a campaign "fighting LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) equality in its self-declared war on gay marriage seems to be an aggressive, undemocratic and un-Christian thing to do."

A 2010 Scottish Social Attitudes survey found that 61 percent of Scottish civilians believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, compared to 19 percent who actively disagree.

Currently, the United Kingdom allows civil partnerships among homosexual couples, but not marriage.

According to the BBC News, civil partnerships offer a range of benefits equal to those of married couples, including pension provision, inheritance, child maintenance, life assurance, next of kin and immigration rights, but they are still definitively different than marriage.