scots get with it on same sex marriage
Country introduces same sex marriage law today
Scotland's same sex marriage law came into effect at midnight today, allowing couples in civil partnerships to convert to marriage. A bill to allow same sex marriage in Scotland was overwhelming passed by Scottish MSPs in February year. They voted 105 to 18 in favour of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill. Although the Act is law from today, unwed gay couples will have to wait until 31 December to get hitched, because the country insists on a 15-day notice period on all weddings.
That rule doesn't apply to couples already in a Scottish civil partnership who began marrying immediately today; the first to wed was Australian based couple Douglas Pretsell and Peter Gloster, who entered a civil partnership in Scotland in 2010 and converted this morning at the British Consulate in Melbourne at one minute past midnight UK time. The first couple to wed on home turf was Leanne and Marie Banks at 8.45am at Dundee Registrars' Office.
Scottish support for same sex marriage has grown since the introduction of civil partnerships in 2010. Then, 61% of Scots believed gay and lesbian couples should have the right to marry; in 2014 that stands at 68% according to a poll by ScotCen Social released to mark the occasion. The Scottish Act leaves Northern Ireland out in the cold on gay marriage. It remains the only part of the UK where same sex marriage remains outlawed.
LGBT rights in Northern Ireland face the threat of further erosion this winter. A proposed amendment to equality legislation that would allow businesses to refuse to serve gay people on religious grounds has the backing of NI first minister Peter Robinson.
Photography Kevin Amato and styling Carlos Nazario