Scotland passes the freedom to marry in final vote

Today, February 4, the Parliament in Scotland approved the Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill, which extends the freedom to marry to same-sex couples across Scotland. 

The bill passed by a vote of 105 to 18. In a previous vote, the bill also overwhelmingly passed, with 98 lawmakers in favor and just 15 opposed. 

The first marriages could take place as early as October 2014. This year, the freedom to marry will also take effect in the United Kingdom's England and Wales. Same-sex couples will be able to marry in England and Wales on March 29, 2014.

Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson applauded the vote today. He said:

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. Today’s win comes after a rich and extensive debate, and after an overwhelming victory in its previous parliamentary vote. Freedom to Marry looks forward from afar to seeing the first Scottish marriages performed in autumn; and will continue working along the Roadmap to Victory needed to ensure that the United States joins them on the right side of history.

This morning, Tom French of the Equality Network, a Scottish LGBT organization, happily anticipated a positive vote in an interview with Gay Star News. He said:

We want to see the first same-sex marriages take place in Scotland as soon as possible, so we are delighted to hear that the Scottish Government are working to make that happen. If our Members of Scottish Parliament pass the equal marriage bill this week, 2014 will be a milestone year for LGBT equality in Scotland. We know that many couples across the country are looking forward to planning their wedding and its great news that their big day may now come about rather sooner than expected.

16 countries have the freedom to marry for same-sex couples nationwide: The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, Brazil, France, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom (including England, Wales and Scotland). Two others have taken regional steps to allow same-sex couples to share in the freedom to marry in parts of the country: Mexico and the United States. 

Learn all about the freedom to marry internationally HERE.