The Scottish Parliament on Tuesday
overwhelmingly approved a gay marriage bill.
After more than 4 hours of debate,
lawmakers approved the bill with a 105 to 18 vote.
“Today is one of those rare days
where you can say as a politician 'I've made a difference,'” MSP
James Dornan told colleagues during the debate at Holyrood. “If
today was my last day in Parliament, I could leave office knowing I'd
really accomplished something.”
During the debate, lawmakers rejected
amendments aimed at weakening the bill, including one which provided
“protection” to groups and individuals opposed to same-sex
Scotland's two largest churches, the
Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland, criticized the move,
saying they would not conduct such unions. However, other religious
groups, including Quakers, Buddhists and the Pagan Federation,
supported the proposed changes.
Evan Wolfson, founder and president of
Freedom to Marry, cheered the vote.
“With the freedom to marry bill
clearing its final hurdle in Scotland today, same-sex couples can
finally share in the freedom to marry alongside their neighbors in
England and Wales,” Wolfson said in an emailed statement. “Today's
win comes after a rich and extensive debate, and after an
overwhelming victory in the parliamentary vote.”
According to the Herald
Scotland, Scotland's first same-sex marriages could be held
as early as July.
The law is expected to take effect by
the end of the year. However, legislation to move up that date is
Gay and lesbian couples can legally
marry in South Africa, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, the
Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil,
Spain, Canada and New Zealand. A law in Britain and Wales takes
effect later this year. In Mexico and the United States, protections
for gay couples can vary widely depending on the state.