Scotland: Queen Elizabeth II Signs Marriage Into Law

The Next Family

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March went in like a lion, but will be going out like a lamb now that marriage equality will be the law of the land in England and Wales beginning March 29, 2014. Additionally, Scotland’s Equal Marriage Act was passed in February 2014 and, one month later on March 13, 2014, Queen Elizabeth II has signed it into law.

The British government will also begin to recognize same-sex marriages as of Thursday, March 13, 2014.

Colin Macfarlane, Director, Stonewall Scotland said at the time: “This a truly historic moment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Scotland. We’re delighted that MSPs have overwhelmingly demonstrated that they’re committed to building a Scotland fit for the 21st century.

“We’re also hugely grateful to the thousands of Stonewall supporters who have played a big part by contacting their MSPs to show their support. We’ll now be lobbying the Scottish Government to ensure that the first marriages take place in Scotland within months of the Act receiving Royal Assent.

“During the Bill’s progress through Parliament, Stonewall Scotland and volunteers produced personalised briefings and speaking notes for MSPs. The charity gave evidence to the Equal Opportunities Committee and has attended and lobbied at every stage of the Bill’s progress.”

Gay Star News reported:

Under the bill religious organizations will need to “opt in” to perform same-sex marriages, and any individual celebrants will be able to refuse to carry out weddings for gay couples.

It will allow transgender people to stay married, rather than having to get divorced, when obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate.

On Top Magazine reported:

“It’s like being turned into a pumpkin on the stroke of midnight,” Celia Kitzinger, who married her wife Sue Wilkinson in Canada in 2003, told BuzzFeed. “We’ll be sitting there in bed with a bottle of champagne and at the stroke of midnight we’ll turn into a married couple. We’re going away to a hotel, having a nice meal and then at midnight we’ll be wife and wife again!”

A recent Scottish Centre for Social Research poll reported a large majority (61 percent) of Scots approved of same-sex marriage. The summary stated: “The biggest and most rapid change in discriminatory attitudes in the last decade has been in views of gay men and lesbians.  In 2000, 48 percent felt sexual relationships between two adults of the same sex were always or mostly wrong. By 2010 this figure had fallen to just over a quarter (27 percent).  At the same time, support for same sex marriage has increased from 41 percent in 2002 to 61 percent in 2010. While more people said a gay man or lesbian would be a suitable primary school teacher in 2010 compared with 2006 (56 percent compared with 48 percent).

“I am delighted that the Same Sex Marriage Bill has now received Royal Assent,” said Alex Neil, cabinet secretary for health and wellbeing. ”We continue to work in close co-operation with Westminster on implementation of the Act so that the first same sex marriage can take place in Scotland as soon as is possible.”

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, 35, is gay and supported the bill on its initial passage. In her speech she said: “I speak on behalf only of myself, this will possibly be the most personal speech I ever make this chamber. I believe in marriage. While my own family had all the stresses and strains common to all there was never any doubt in my mind of the security. More than 40 years later my parents still love each other and I look at that now and I want it.”

Then added: “I want that right to extend not just to me but to the thousands of people across Scotland who can’t marry the love of their life. It matters the whole section of society they can have the facsimile of civil partnership but can’t have the real thing. I don’t want the next generation of young gay people growing up as I did believing marriage is not for them.”

She poignantly expressed: “That apartheid message, that same but different, is reflected in every hurtful comment. We will wipe away the last legal barrier which says they are not equal to their peers. I want everybody in Scotland to know marriage is open to them.”

Davidson was named one of Scotland’s 50 Most Influential LGBT People by The Scotsman newspaper on February 16, 2014. The article, titled: “The Pink Scotland List,” also included Leader of Glasgow City Council Gordon Matheson, fashion designer Christopher Kane, actor Alan Cumming, Co-convener of the Scottish Green Party Patrick Harvie, and General Secretary of the Scottish Labour Party Ian Price. The full list of influential Scots is available here.

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