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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Scottish Parliament Passes Marriage Equality Bill

By a free vote of 105 to 18, the Scottish Parliament today passed the Marriage and Civil Partership (Scotland) Bill, against opposition led by the Church of Scotland, the Roman Catholic Church, and other churches. The bill does, however, provide that no church can be forced to perform same-sex weddings. In advance of the bill, the Scottish government sought public comments on the change to the marriage laws and received more than 77,000 responses.

No date has yet been announced for the first same-sex weddings in Scotland, but they may begin in the autumn, extending marriage equality to most of the United Kingdom.  The UK Parliament last July passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in England and Wales, and the first weddings will take place on March 29. Northern Ireland, with a long history of conflict between militant Protestants and Roman Catholics, remains without marriage equality, although civil partnerships are celebrated there. The Republic of Ireland is set to hold a national referendum on same-sex marriage in 2015.

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