Scotland announces plans to bring freedom to marry bill to Parliament

On Wednesday, Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made an announcement that Scotland could soon have the freedom to marry. After proposing that a draft marriage bill come forward later this year, Scotland's National Party announced that ceremonies could take place as soon as 2015.

According to Sturgeon, no religious body would be compelled to conduct marriages for same-sex couples, as such protection is provided under existing Scottish law. Ministers are permitted to opt out of performing marriages for same-sex couples thanks to changes to the UK Equality Act, a law that bans the unfair treatment of people because of protected characteristics they have.

The soon-to-be drafted marriage bill could essentially include legislation that could serve as an amendment to the Equality Act.

Despite some opposition from the Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland, community members, political leaders, and organizers welcomed Sturgeon's announcement.

Tom French, a policy coordinator for Equality Network, a Scottish group focused on LGBT issues, welcomed Wednesday's announcement with open arms. He said:

The Scottish government have shown their determination to make Scotland a more progressive country," said French. "With cross-party support for equality in the Scottish parliament, we would expect that this change can be passed next year.

Read more about progress toward the freedom to marry internationally here!