Same sex marriage legislation comes into force in Scotland today, although the first ceremonies will not take place until New Year’s Eve.
Couples in existing civil partnerships can convert their unions into marriages with immediate effect, just days after civil partnership conversion was introduced in England. Meanwhile, couples who wish to enter brand new marriages can announce their intention to marry on December 31, providing the required 15 days’ notice.
Scotland legalised gay marriage in February, becoming the 17th country in the world to do so. The Scottish Parliament passed the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act by a huge majority – 105 votes to 18, despite a contentious campaign by opponents of the measure.
According to a report in The Scotsman, Glasgow couple Scott and David Barclay were scheduled to become the first in the country to convert their civil partnership into marriage today. They have been together for more than a decade and entered a civil partnership in 2007.
In a statement, the couple declared:
“This is hugely personal for us as despite being in a committed relationship for nearly 11 years, paying our taxes and making an equal contribution to society, we have always been very aware that we were not offered the same treatment or respect, and have until now been denied the equal right to get married just like our straight friends and family.”
Marco Biagi is the Scottish Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment. He said he was “absolutely delighted” by the development, adding that it sent “a very clear message to the rest of the world about how [Scotland views] equality”.