Scottish equal marriage does more than allow gay couples to tie the knot, by Nicola Sturgeon

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

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

I am fortunate to be able to say that I have had many proud days in my life.

Without a doubt, however, one of my proudest days was when I married my husband, Peter, in 2010. It was an extremely happy day for us both.

Another proud day was when I was one of the MSPs who, in February 2014, voted to legalise same sex marriage in Scotland by an overwhelming 105 votes to 18 in the Scottish Parliament. This sent a powerful message to people about the kind of country we are.

It is right and proper that couples should be able to marry, regardless of their sexual orientation, and have the opportunity to experience the kind of happiness I did on my wedding day.

The process in Scotland, in line with our practice generally, has been consultative. We consulted twice – the first on the principle of allowing same sex marriage, the second on a draft Bill. We wanted to make sure that we got the legislation right and we are pleased that LGBT stakeholders widely consider our same sex marriage legislation to be one of the most progressive equal marriage laws in the world.

This legislation does far more than just allow same sex couples to marry however. 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.

I am committed to a Scotland that is fair and equal, and this legislation makes a big step forward in creating the kind of Scotland we want to achieve.

On a personal note, I am very much looking forward to being a witness at the first same sex marriage ceremony on Hogmanay and stepping into 2015 in a fairer and more tolerant society.

With very best wishes to all couples who will now be able to enter into marriage.

Nicola Sturgeon is the First Minister of Scotland