Queen Elizabeth II gave her royal approval to Scotland's gay marriage bill on Thursday.

Gay and lesbian couples in Scotland will be able to marry by the end of the year, Gay Star News reported.

“I am delighted that the Same Sex Marriage Bill has now received Royal Assent,” Alex Neil, cabinet secretary for health and wellbeing, is quoted as saying. “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.”

Despite opposition from religious and conservative groups, Scottish lawmakers approved the bill with a 105 to 18 vote.

(Related: Scotland approves gay marriage bill.)

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 on March 29. In Mexico and the United States, protections for gay couples can vary widely depending on the state.

(Related: Britain begins recognizing marriages of gay couples performed overseas.)