CONGRATULATIONS Scotland: Gay couples set to marry from New Year’s Eve

PinkNews logo surrounded by illustrated images including a rainbow, unicorn, PN sign and pride flag.

PinkNews Exclusive
The date the first gay and lesbian couples will be able to marry in Scotland has been announced as New Year’s Eve 2014.

The Scottish Government is to announced the date officially at a Scottish Equality Network celebration event held in Edinburgh at 11.30am.

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 will come into force on 16 December, meaning couples can register to marry then.

Following the usual 15 day notice period for marriages, the first same-sex weddings will take place on 31 December 2014.

Scottish couples already in Civil Partnerships will be able to convert to marriage from the same date, 16 December, by making an appointment at a register office.

Those who wish to convert to marriage with a full marriage ceremony will be able to do so from 31 December, and regular marriage fees will then apply.

For married transgender people, today’s announcement also brought the news that from 16 December they will no longer be forced to divorce the person they love before they are allowed to have the gender they live as recognised in law.

Furthermore, because there is no ‘spousal veto’ on gender recognition in Scotland, the decision of a married trans person to get legal recognition of their gender will be respected as their human right, and not a decision that can be blocked by a spouse.

Speaking at the event, Alex Neil, the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, said: “It is wonderful that same-sex couples can now begin to make plans to have their marriage just as any other couple can. This historic legislation had overwhelming support across the Scottish Parliament, demonstrating to the world how importantly Scotland views equality. That support means that, from 31 December, same-sex couples who want to show their love and commitment to each other could get married in front of family and friends at a ceremony they choose together. This will be an important signal that our nation is absolutely committed to the same rights for all our citizens. It will be a proud and no doubt emotional day for many, and I, for one, can’t wait.”

Welcoming the news, Tom French, Policy and Public Affairs Coordinator for the Equality Network, said; “We are very pleased that after years of campaigning for equal marriage it is now just weeks away from becoming a reality. Today’s milestone announcement means that same-sex couples across Scotland will be able to set a date and start planning their weddings. With the first ceremonies set to take place on Hogmanay, Scotland can be proud that we will bring in the new year as a fairer and more equal country.”

“The 31st December 2014 will be a date that is remembered for many years to come, and a profoundly emotional day for those couples who celebrate their commitment to each other, and for all LGBTI people who grew up in a country where being gay was still criminalised until 1981. Scotland is now a leader on LGBTI equality, with one of the most progressive equal marriage laws in the world. There is still more to do to ensure full equality in people’s day-to-day lives, but this year we have taken a huge leap forward towards creating the fair and equal Scotland we all want to see.”

In February, Scotland became the 17th country in the world to pass same-sex marriage legislation when the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 achieved an overwhelming majority of 105 to 18 in the Scottish Parliament. The Act received Royal Assent in March and since then the Scottish Government has been working on the secondary legislation required to bring the new law into force.

Congratulations to all of those planning to tie the knot this year, from the PinkNews team!