Nick Clegg: Equal marriage in Scotland sends a signal to less tolerant nations

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Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has congratulated gay and lesbian couples planning to marry from midnight tonight in Scotland.

The first couples will marry at 00:01 on Hogmanay, 31 December 2014. The move comes after the Scottish Parliament approved same-sex marriage with 105 votes to 18 in February 2014.

Speaking to PinkNews, Nick Clegg said same-sex marriage in England, Wales and soon Scotland, sends a beacon of hope to LGBT people around the world.

Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrats Leader told PinkNews: “I am so very proud and pleased that gay men and women in England and Wales, and from midnight Scotland, can have their love recognised in the eyes of the law.

“This not only shows that we are changing as a society and becoming more liberal, open and accepting, this also sends out a strong signal to many LBGT people around the world, who do not enjoy the same freedoms as we do, that we stand with them.

“We can’t dictate how other nations behave but we can promote the principles we believe in, of a fair and open society, both in the UK and abroad.”

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote for PinkNews today to welcome the first same-sex marriages which will take place just after midnight tonight.

She wrote: “This legislation does far more than just allow same sex couples to marry. It challenges the negative attitudes that still exist today in our society towards LGBT people. It shows, quite simply, that same sex couples are just as valued as opposite sex couples. No longer will same sex couples be viewed as being separate from opposite sex couples in the eyes of the law.”

Scotland has been on a tremendous journey from legalising gay sex by Section 80 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act in 1980 to repealing Section 28 in 2000, to same-sex marriage on Hogmanay 2014.