Scottish Parliament legalizes same sex marriage

By Holly Bogardus,

Scotland becomes the 17th country to legalize same sex marriages. This proves to be a huge victory for the LGBT community.

According NBC News, this Tuesday the Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill was passed with a landslide 105 votes in favor, with 18 in opposition. Parliament says they want ceremonies to begin “as soon as possible." The first ceremonies are expected to take place by the end of the year, or October at the earliest. Those who moved against the bill were the Scottish Catholic Church and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. The bill will not force religious institutions to perform ceremonies on their premises, however. These institutions are encouraged to “opt in,” however.

Alex Neil, Scottish Health Secretary, called the bill's approval "one of the great historic days of the parliament." The Scottish government said passing the same-sex marriage bill was an important step for equal rights.

Some religious leaders have criticized it as an assault on tradition. Scottish National Party (SNP) member John Mason fears about its impact on Scottish tradition. BBC News reports Mason as saying, "This has been the prevailing view in Scotland for centuries, and may now be considered a minority view or even old fashioned, but it is an integral tenet of faith for many Christians, Muslims and others as well as the belief of many of no faith position at all."

He added, "We have seen volunteers in the third sector removed from the board for publicly supporting traditional marriage."

The Scottish Catholic Church and Church of Scotland still oppose the move. Many groups are saying the safeguards in the bill don’t go far enough. Many churches in Scotland are saying they have no plans of conducting same-sex marriages.
Regardless of Scotland’s two main church's oppositions, the government stands by its feeling that this is simply “the right thing to do.”

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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