CONGRATULATIONS! Scots in civil partnerships can now marry

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Scotland’s same-sex marriage law has come into effect, meaning couples in civil partnerships can now convert to marriage.

From today, unwed gay couples can give notice to marry  – though the country enforces a 15-day notice period on all weddings, meaning the first ‘new’ same-sex weddings will not take place until December 31.

The notice period does not apply for couples who are already in Scottish civil partnerships – meaning they can begin marrying immediately, and can convert for free at registry offices across Scotland and in a limited number of UK consulates.

Tom French of the Equality Network said: “After many years of campaigning, we are delighted that as of today same-sex marriage is now legal in Scotland.

“We wish all those couples who are getting married today, and those planning to do so in future, all the best.

“Today is both a day of celebration and a hugely important step forward for LGBTI rights in Scotland, both in terms of equality in the law and the way in which same-sex relationships are viewed in society.

“In recent years Scotland has become a leading light on LGBTI equality, with one of the most progressive equal marriage laws in the world, helping to create the fair and equal society we all want to see.”

Douglas Pretsell and Peter Gloster – who originally entered into a civil partnership in Scotland in 2010 – have become the first couple to take advantage of the new law, in a ceremony at the British Consulate in Melbourne, Australia at one minute past midnight UK time (11.01am local time).

The couple said: “We are so proud of Scotland for introducing equal marriage, and we hope that other countries like Australia will soon follow Scotland’s lead.

“We always considered our civil partnership to be our marriage, but in the eyes of the law and society it wasn’t held in the same regard.

“Prior to today same-sex couples were deliberately treated as though our relationships were inferior and not worthy of the same recognition or respect.

“Well from today its official, we are married and we have the certificate to prove it. This is an important step forward for equality both in terms of the law, but also in the way that LGBTI people will be viewed and treated in our society.”

The law also brings in changes for gender recognition – meaning transgender people will no longer have to get divorced in order to obtain a Gener Recognition Certificate.

Marriages from overseas will also begin to be formally recognised from today.