Scotland Approves Gay Marriage Bill

The Scottish Parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a gay marriage bill.

After more than 4 hours of debate, lawmakers approved the bill with a 105 to 18 vote.

“Today is one of those rare days where you can say as a politician ‘I’ve made a difference,’” MSP James Dornan told colleagues during the debate at Holyrood. “If today was my last day in Parliament, I could leave office knowing I’d really accomplished something.”

During the debate, lawmakers rejected amendments aimed at weakening the bill, including one which provided “protection” to groups and individuals opposed to same-sex marriage.Republic Wireless

Scotland’s two largest churches, the Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland, criticized the move, saying they would not conduct such unions. However, other religious groups, including Quakers, Buddhists and the Pagan Federation, supported the proposed changes.

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, cheered the vote.

“With the freedom to marry bill clearing its final hurdle in Scotland today, same-sex couples can finally share in the freedom to marry alongside their neighbors in England and Wales,” Wolfson said in an emailed statement. “Today’s win comes after a rich and extensive debate, and after an overwhelming victory in the parliamentary vote.”

According to the Herald Scotland, Scotland’s first same-sex marriages could be held as early as July.

The law is expected to take effect by the end of the year. However, legislation to move up that date is under consideration.

Gay and lesbian couples can legally marry in South Africa, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Spain, Canada and New Zealand. A law in Britain and Wales takes effect later this year. In Mexico and the United States, protections for gay couples can vary widely depending on the state.

by Carlos Santoscoy
Source – On Top Magazine