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Marriage Equality Comes to Scotland

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

titleScotland joins England and Wales in welcoming marriage equality.

Think Progress reports:

It took ten additional months, but legal marriage equality has officially arrived in Scotland. The country’s parliament approved the law in February by a vote of 105-18, one of the strongest endorsements of marriage equality by any legislative body. Scotland joins its United Kingdom counterparts England and Wales, leaving Northern Ireland as the only part of the Kingdom that doesn’t recognize same-sex couples’ marriages.

These are civil partnership conversions – the first “new” weddings will take place starting on 12/31.

Interestingly, the first Scottish same sex marriage took place halfway around the world, in Australia.

Gay Star News reports:

Scottish citizen Douglas Pretsell has become the first of his countrymen to legally marry another man as Scotland’s marriage equality law comes into effect today. Pretsell married Australian man Peter Gloster at the British consulate in Melbourne at 11.01am today at the exact moment when Scotland’s equal marriage legislation came into effect.

And a new poll shows that marriage equality support has reached new highs:

A study by ScotCen Social Research released to mark the occasion shows that opposition to equality has dropped to a new all-time low ahead of the changes, with 68 percent in favour and just 17 percent opposed. The numbers are a marked change from 2010, when 61 percent were in favour and 19 percent against – and a seismic shift from 2002, when just 41 percent were in favour and 29 percent opposed.

Amazing – Northern Ireland, are you listening?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

UK: Britain to Recognize Overseas Weddings; Queen Signs Scotland Marriage Equality Bill

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

LondonA couple marriage equality stories out of Britain today.

First off, as of this morning, same sex couples legally married in other countries are now recognized as married in the UK.

On Top Magazine reports:

The British government will begin recognizing the marriages of gay couples who married overseas as of Thursday… “It’s like being turned into a pumpkin on the stroke of midnight,” Celia Kitzinger, who married her wife Sue Wilkinson in Canada in 2003, told BuzzFeed. “We’ll be sitting there in bed with a bottle of champagne and at the stroke of midnight we’ll turn into a married couple. We’re going away to a hotel, having a nice meal and then at midnight we’ll be wife and wife again!”

In related news, the Scotland law took a step closer to becoming reality.

Gay Star News reports:

Queen Elizabeth II has signed same-sex marriage into law in Scotland today (13 March). By the end of the year, Scottish gay couples will be able to unite in matrimony. It is the last step in the long battle to get the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill through parliament, making it an Act.

Northern Ireland, we’re waiting for you to get your act together.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in the United Kingdom.

UK, Scotland: Holyrood Overwhelmingly Passes Marriage Equality Bill

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Rainbow Over ScotlandThe Scottish Parliament passed the marriage equality by 105-18 votes yesterday.

The Washington Blade reports:

A bill that would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in Scotland on Tuesday received final approval. The 105-18 vote in the Scottish Parliament took place after more than three hours of debate. Iceland, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal and Spain are among the 15 countries in which gays and lesbians can legally marry.

The Equality Network reports that a rainbow appeared over the Parliament yesterday.

The bill’s passage will also benefit transgender and interest people in Scotland.

Pink News reports:

The passage of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill marks a significant step forward in terms of legal equality for trans and intersex people in Scotland. The Scottish Transgender Alliance and Equality Network secured a number of amendments to the bill ensuring that the needs of trans and intersex people are at the core of this historic legislation.

When the law comes into force trans people will finally be able to have the gender they identify as legally recognised regardless of whether they are married or in a civil partnership. Our successful spousal veto amendment means that even if a trans person’s spouse does not consent, they will still be able to obtain legal gender recognition. In passing this amendment, MSPs from across Scotland’s political parties recognised that access to gender recognition is a matter of personal autonomy and a human right which should not be able to be blocked by another person.

Churches will not be forced to hold same sex weddings.

Towleroad.com reports:

Religious and belief bodies can “opt in” to perform same-sex marriages.Ministers said no part of the religious community would be forced to hold such ceremonies in churches. During a debate at Holyrood, MSPs rejected amendments which were said to provide “protection” for groups and individuals opposed to same-sex marriage.

When will the weddings begin?

Buzzfeed reports:

The exact date for the first same-sex marriage in Scotland depends on when the Westminster parliament amends existing legislation to ensure officials who refuse to conduct same-sex marriages are protected under the law.

Most sources are betting on October.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Scotland.

UK: Scotland Likely to Legalize Marriage Equality Today

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

ScotlandIt looks like today is the day that marriage equality will come to Scotland.

Gay Star News reports:

People all over Scotland are awaiting the final vote today (4 February), finding out whether it will join the 16 other countries in the world to allow same-sex marriage. The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill is expected to be approved by parliament later today. But while a shock still could happen, it is looking likely it will pass around 6pm local time. Under the new legislation, religious bodies will be able to opt in to perform same-sex marriages but individual celebrants who feel it would go against their faith will be protected.

Reports vary as to when the law would take effect. Some say next year, but others say as soon as July or October of 2014.

Pink News is liveblogging the event, although we had some trouble with their site today.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Scotland.

UK, Scotland: First Weddings in July?

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Scotland - Google Maps

from Google Maps

It looks like same sex couples could start marrying a lot sooner than was originally expected.

Gay Star News reports:

The bill legalizing gay marriage in Scotland is expected to be pass overwhelmingly by Members of Scottish Parliament (MSPs) in a free vote tomorrow (4 January). While it was expected the first gay weddings would take place in 2015, roughly a year after England and Wales, implementation could take far quicker than expected. The Scottish Government announced they would work with the UK Government to speed up the process, as long as it passes the final vote.

If so, gay and lesbian couples will begin marrying in Scotland just three and a half months after their England/Wales counterparts. Northern Ireland, however, continues to drag its feet, even though polls there show 57% support for marriage equality.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Scotland.

UK, Scotland: Parliament Likely to Pass Marriage Equality Bill Overwhelmingly Tuesday

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

Scotland Parliament - Google Maps

from Google Maps

Scotland could join England and Wales with full marriage equality this week.

Towleroad.com reports:

MSPs are expected to pass Scotland’s marriage equality bill in an overwhelming vote on Tuesday, the Herald reports: The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill will legalise civil and religious same-sex marriages, with an “opt-in” procedure for faiths and celebrants willing to conduct ceremonies and legal protection for those who object. It also relaxes the rules on where civil marriages can take place, and establishes non-religious or “belief” marriage ceremonies. Health Secretary Alex Neil, who has piloted the law through Holyrood, will tell Parliament he expects the first same-sex marriages will take place in Scotland by the end of the year.

However, it’s possible weddings could begin there as soon as July.

In related news, one MP is taking a last whack at wrecking the bill with an amendment.

Gay Star News reports:

According to Scotland on Sunday, Glasgow Shettleston SNP politician John Mason, a devout Christian, has tabled several amendments to the bill and hopes other politicians will support them in the final vote. One of the amendments states no public sector employee should suffer any ‘detriment’ for believing in the traditional definition of marriage between a man and a woman. Mason suggests the same-sex marriage law should be delayed from coming into effect until suitable anti-discriminatory protection for public sector workers is signed into the Equality Act, which is currently passing through Westminster.

It seems unlikely that the effort will succeed.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in the United Kingdom.

UK, Scotland: Marriage Equality Bill top Get Final Vote On February 4th

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Scotland Parliament - Google Maps

from Google Maps

It looks like we’re this close to getting marriage equality for Scotland.

Pink News reports:

The date of the final vote on Scotland’s equal marriage bill has been announced.
A stage 3 debate and vote will take place on 4 Feb. Tom French, policy coordinator for the Equality Network said to PinkNews.co.uk: “After six years of campaigning for equal marriage there is now less than a fortnight to go until the final vote. Scotland can be proud that we have produced one of the most progressive equal marriage bills in the world, and it vital that everyone who supports LGBT equality now contacts our MSPs to protect against any negative amendments being made and to make sure this bill passes into law with the strong majority it deserves.”

According to Pink News, 56% support the bill. I haven’t yet seen any reporting on when it would actually take effect after passage – anyone out there know?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in the United Kingdom.

UK, Scotland: Anti-Gay Amendments Rejected By Parliamentary Committee

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Scotland - Google Maps

from Google Maps

Several attempts to water down the pending marriage equality bill in Scotland were rejected by committee this week.

Pink News reports:

The committee was tasked with considering amendments to the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill before MSPs vote on a final version of the bill early next year. On Thursday, they rejected proposed amendments that allowed civil registrars and all other public sector workers to refuse to marry same-sex couples. An amendment which would introduce a clause stating that a potential adoptive parent or foster carer’s views on marriage cannot be taken into account during the fostering or adoption process was also rejected.

Scottish Health Secretary Alex Neil said: “I do not consider it necessary to amend the law on fostering and adoption in relation to same-sex marriage. “It is already the case that views on same-sex marriage cannot disqualify anyone from becoming a foster carer or an adoptive parent.”

On the other hand, two pro-gay minutes were added:

Two amendments supported by the Equality Network, the Scottish LGBT equality charity, were agreed unanimously by the committee, including an amendment to allow couples with foreign civil partnerships to convert them to a marriage in Scotland, and one to allow religious and belief bodies to use gender-neutral language in marriage ceremonies if they wish.

Anyone know what the legislative track for this bill looks like, i.e. when it might actually be passed into law? It would be nice if it would coincide with the England/Wales version, which starts March 29th.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in the United Kingdom.

UK, Scotland: New Poll Shows 56% Support Marriage Equality Bill

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

US Gay Marriage PollA new YouGov poll out of Scotland shows strong support for the pending marriage equality bill.

Pink News reports:

It’s the first poll to be released since last month’s landmark vote on equal marriage by the Scottish Parliament. 56% of Scots support the legislation going through Holyrood; 35% are opposed, while 8% are unsure. The findings have been welcomed by equal marriage campaigners who say MSPs should “take heart” from the level of support among the public.

The bill passed its first stage last month and is now in the amendment stage. The next vote will probably happen in February.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in the United Kingdom.

UK, Scotland: Parliament Passes Marriage Equality Bill on First Vote 98-15

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Scotland Parliament - Google Maps

from Google Maps

The marriage equality bill in Scotland passed its first hurdle today, with a 98-15 vote in the Parliament.

The Advocate reports:

In a bipartisan vote being hailed by advocates as a crucial first step toward enacting marriage equality in Scotland, members of the Scottish Parliament voted 98-15 to move an equal marriage bill forward to a parliamentary committee. The vote, which took place Wednesday night in Scotland, essentially passed the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill on its first reading, allowing the legislation to move to the Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee, where lawmakers will consider amendments, before seeking a final vote from members of parliament, likely in early 2014. If the bill passes out of committee and through its third reading before the full parliament, same-sex couples could begin marrying in Scotland next year.

So now we wait for January. But with this much support, the bill will most likely become law next year.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in the United Kingdom.