A bill granting the right of same-sex couples to wed in Scotland was approved by the Scottish parliament.
BBC News reports that the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) bill was overwhelmingly approved in a 105 to 18 vote. Members of the parliament agreed it was the right thing to do, although Scotland’s two main churches opposed the measure.
Assuming all goes as planned, the first same-sex weddings in Scotland could take place autumn of 2014.
According to RTE News, religious opponents of the bill were disheartened by the vote. They claim the bill was rushed to vote, saying it’s a “sad day for those who believe in and who have fought for traditional marriage.”
On the other side, Scottish health secretary Alex Neil celebrated the bill as a sign of a “new Scotland we are creating in the 21st century.”
Certain amendments to the bill were tabled for a later vote, including measures providing “protection” to those opposing same-sex marriage. One tabled amendment stated that no citizen could be compelled to endorse gay marriage by any means.
Neil insisted that the bill alone provides ample protection for religious bodies against coercion. Religious institutions and ministers are given the option to “opt in” to performing same sex marriages.
The bill’s passing comes in the wake of similar bills passed in England and Wales.
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