Scottish MPs have passed a law legalising gay marriage by a comfortable majority.
In a free (conscience) vote, Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) voted in favour of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill by 105 votes to 18.
The first same sex marriages in Scotland are now expected in the autumn.
MSPs rejected a number of amendments during the debate designed to protect the interests of those opposed to gay marriage, the BBC reports.
John Mason of the SNP proposed an amendment stating that nobody could be compelled to conduct a gay marriage ceremony, but was told that it was unnecessary as the existing bill already contained “robust protections for religious bodies and celebrants”.
He also called for an amendment stating 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”.
Health Secretary Alex Neil hailed the bill’s approval, describing it as an “historic day in the history of the Scottish Parliament”.
Photo of the Scottish Parliament building by Jamieli via Wikipedia