Gay marriage is officially legal in Scotland.
Members of Scottish Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of same-sex marriage this evening (4 February).
There was huge standing ovation as the votes were announced. Politicians voted Yes 105, No 18 and there was no abstentions.
This means Scotland is the 17th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.
The new legislation, described as one of the most ‘progressive’ equal marriage bills in the world, will allow religious bodies to opt in to perform same-sex unions.
Individual celebrants who feel it would go against their faith will be protected.
Humanist ceremonies will be allowed, and religious and belief ceremonies will be allowed to register civil partnerships.
Transgender people will be allowed to stay married, rather than having to get divorced, when obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate.
LGBTI rights campaigners said it was a ‘historic day’.
Tom French, policy coordinator for the Equality Network, said ‘Today will be remembered in history as the day that lesbian, gay and bisexual people were finally granted full legal equality in Scotland, and given an equal right to marry the person they love.
‘This is a profoundly emotional moment for many people who grew up in a country where being gay was still a criminal offence until 1980.
‘Scotland can be proud that we now have one of the most progressive equal marriage bills in the world, and that we’ve sent out a strong message about the kind of country we are.
‘We know this change means so much to LGBT people across Scotland and we look forward to the first same-sex marriages taking place as soon as possible.’
Nathan Gale, development officer at Scottish Transgender Alliance, said: ‘We are delighted that the Scottish Parliament has passed a bill today that can genuinely be described as equal marriage. The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill puts the needs of trans and intersex people at its center.
‘We still have a great deal of work to do to bring about trans and intersex equality in the law.
‘But in passing the equal marriage bill this evening our MSPs have taken Scotland a significant step in the right direction.’
Colin Macfarlane, director of Stonewall Scotland, said: ‘This a truly historic moment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Scotland.
'We’re delighted that MSPs have overwhelmingly demonstrated that they’re committed to building a Scotland fit for the 21st century.’
The Bill will soon be signed by Queen Elizabeth II, enshrining it in British law.
The first gay weddings in Scotland are expected to happen as early as October.
It follows England and Wales, which made gay marriage legal last summer, with the first marriages scheduled for 29 March. No similar legislation is currently being planned in Northern Ireland, although campaigners are demanding it.