7:54 pm - 02/04/2014

Scotland's same-sex marriage bill is passed

Scotland has followed England and Wales in changing the law to allow same-sex couples to marry.

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill passed its third stage in a free vote at the Scottish Parliament as MSPs voted 105-18 in favour.

The vote means Northern Ireland is now the only country in the UK that does not permit gay people to marry.

After the vote was passed, Scottish Health Secretary Alex Neil said: "This is a historic moment for equality in Scotland.

“I am proud that the Scottish Parliament has taken this progressive and hugely important decision in favour of equal rights in our country.

“It is right that same sex couples should be able to freely express their love and commitment to each other through getting married. Marriage is about love, and that has always been at the heart of this issue.

“That was the clear message from Scotland’s Parliament today. We must no longer allow same sex couples who wish to get married to be barred from doing so.

“Thanks to this bill, same sex couples now have the same access to marriage — one of our most important institutions — as everyone else.

“There has been overwhelming support for this Bill from the beginning and many MSPs from across the political spectrum have expressed considered, personal opinions.

“We now need to work quickly and in close co-operation with Westminster on implementation. On that basis, I very much look forward to seeing the first same sex marriages taking place in Scotland as soon as is possible.”The issue had polarised public opinion between supporters who championed it as a move towards equality and opponents who raised concerns about the impact on religious freedom.

Scotland becomes the 19th country in the world in which gay marriage is permitted in all or part of its jurisdiction. Legislation to allow gay marriage in England and Wales was passed at Westminster in July 2013.

Same-sex marriage is also legal in Argentina, Denmark, The Netherlands, South Africa, Belgium, New Zealand, Spain, Brazil, France, Norway, Sweden, Canada, Iceland, Portugal and Uruguay. In the United States and Mexico marriage is regulated at a state level, with some states allowing same-sex marriage and others restricting the right to opposite-sex couples.

The Scottish Parliament's Bill also allows couples to convert their civil partnerships to marriages.

Critics attempted to add last-minute amendments to extend protections to religious groups.

SNP MSP John Mason had hoped to alter the legislation to ensure no one is "compelled by any means" to solemnise gay marriage.

His was the first of a series of backbench amendments seeking to bolster protection in the Bill for freedom of expression.

"If the Parliament accepts none of these amendments this afternoon, we are sending out a signal that we've not been listening," he argued.

However, the Scottish Health Secretary said the legislation already protected celebrants who do not want to take part in ceremonies.

Mr Neil conceded that churches have concerns, but told the Scottish Parliament: "There are robust protections for religious bodies and celebrants in the Bill and in the planned amendments to the Equality Act."

Mr Mason's amendment was defeated in a 96-21 vote as MSPs picked their way through the final stage of the Bill before it can become law.

As politicians debated in the parliament, supporters rallied outside ahead of the vote.

The Humanist Society of Scotland marked the occasion by offering to conduct free conversion ceremonies for the first 100 same-sex couples who want to be married but are currently in civil partnerships.

Humanist celebrant Ross Wright said: "I've had the privilege of conducting wedding ceremonies for both heterosexual and homosexual couples, and for me, the only difference has been the gender of the dolls on the cake."

More than 50 ministers and church officials wrote to the Scottish Government at the weekend to express their "deep concern" over the proposed law.

Scotland for Marriage, a group set up to oppose the Bill, said more than 54,000 people had signed its petition by Monday evening.

In total, 105 MSPs voted Yes. There were no abstentions but five MSPs did not vote.

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zuluuluz 4th-Feb-2014 08:10 pm (UTC)
we're getting closer
petecarl 4th-Feb-2014 08:11 pm (UTC)
WOOOO!!!!! So happy it passed.
numbedtoe 4th-Feb-2014 08:11 pm (UTC)
I love Scotland. Glad they got their shit together on this.

takobella 4th-Feb-2014 08:12 pm (UTC)

This is the way to do it, I have no idea why they let the public vote on it in the US
bethmai 4th-Feb-2014 08:13 pm (UTC)
it's a bit more different. There are states in America which are double the size of every country in the UK combined.
takobella 4th-Feb-2014 08:14 pm (UTC)
What does that matter?
shangman 4th-Feb-2014 08:26 pm (UTC)
there are states with 120million people? damn.

oh wait i think you mean just geographically.

Edited at 2014-02-04 08:28 pm (UTC)
kaninasan 5th-Feb-2014 12:25 am (UTC)
lol what
chomsky 4th-Feb-2014 08:14 pm (UTC)
As if letting Congress decide on it would have much of a different outcome than what we're currently dealing with.

Edited at 2014-02-04 08:14 pm (UTC)
skyler_white_yo 4th-Feb-2014 08:14 pm (UTC)
Depends on the state. New York did not hold a public election, rather the State legislature passed the law.
yurasama_love 4th-Feb-2014 08:14 pm (UTC)
Eventually it'll pass on a federal level.
lillylilacs 4th-Feb-2014 08:23 pm (UTC)
it depends on the state if it is voted on or not, plenty of states went through courts
scriptedending 4th-Feb-2014 08:13 pm (UTC)
Hell yes!
robotpotatoes 4th-Feb-2014 08:13 pm (UTC)
YASSSS gimmie them uncut scottish diq

fluffybb 4th-Feb-2014 09:25 pm (UTC)
Pic please!
glowing_dragon 4th-Feb-2014 08:13 pm (UTC)
Good for them.
swissbeauty23 4th-Feb-2014 08:13 pm (UTC)
congrats, Scotland!
yurasama_love 4th-Feb-2014 08:13 pm (UTC)
Nice! My friend just moved to Dublin (I know, Ireland, not Scotland) to marry her girlfriend, so this is nice.
ava_adore0 4th-Feb-2014 09:09 pm (UTC)
isn't same sex marriage illegal in ireland?? i always thought it was and i was on a euro facts ireland website that the requirements to get married in ireland included being of opposite sexes as stated on their birth certificate. (that information and my understanding may be outdated)
yurasama_love 4th-Feb-2014 10:07 pm (UTC)
idk man, she said they're getting married.
aotearoagal 5th-Feb-2014 07:04 am (UTC)
I think it's only Northern Ireland that's not legalised it yet.
spread 4th-Feb-2014 08:14 pm (UTC)
takobella 4th-Feb-2014 08:17 pm (UTC)
God some ppl have the ugliest sex faces
wearescientists 4th-Feb-2014 08:27 pm (UTC)
my worst fear tbh
hahahey 4th-Feb-2014 08:49 pm (UTC)
where is this from?
deluminator 4th-Feb-2014 09:01 pm (UTC)
omg, poor thing
carazon 5th-Feb-2014 02:21 am (UTC)
lol I think this is from "It's gonna hurt"
zombieroadtrip 5th-Feb-2014 01:41 pm (UTC)
lmao why would you ever bring your wide angle lens to a porn shoot
abydosww 4th-Feb-2014 08:15 pm (UTC)
Well done Scotland.
ferelden 4th-Feb-2014 08:15 pm (UTC)

Edited at 2014-02-04 08:18 pm (UTC)
pleaseicu 4th-Feb-2014 08:16 pm (UTC)
Good job Scotland
deathbytamarind 4th-Feb-2014 08:17 pm (UTC)
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