Scottish Parliament approve same-sex marriage

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Alex Neil, the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellness, who pushed the legislation through Parliament for the Scottish government.
Image: Scottish Government.

The Scottish Parliament approved a bill to legalise same-sex marriage by a free vote of 105–18. The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill allows for religious bodies to opt in to providing same-sex wedding ceremonies. The Bill was opposed by religious bodies including the Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church.

During the Parliamentary debate a number of amendments were advanced and rejected, including an amendment to recognise that "a belief in marriage as a voluntary union between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others for life is a belief worthy of respect in a democratic society". The bill allows humanist celebrations in addition to civil and religious ceremonies.

Alex Neil, the Scottish cabinet minister responsible for the legislation, 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."