Scotland becomes 17th country to approve same-sex marriages
LONDON (REUTERS) - Scotland voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday, Feb 4, 2014 to allow same-sex marriages, becoming the 17th country to give the green light to gay marriage despite opposition from its main church organisations.
The Scottish government, which will hold a referendum on independence from Britain in September, said passing the same-sex marriage Bill was an important step for equal rights and paved the way for same-sex wedding ceremonies later this year.
The move was opposed by the Scottish Catholic Church and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland but the law will not compel religious institutions to hold ceremonies on their premises.
The approval, in a vote of 105 to 18 in Scotland's devolved Parliament, follows similar legislation passed by the British Parliament last year that allows same-sex marriage in England and Wales, with the first weddings to take place from March 29.