The Scottish Parliament has passed the Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill earlier today by 105 votes to 18, making it the 17th nation in the world to introduce marriage equality. It is expected that couples will be able to marry from later this year in Scotland, joining England and Wales in providing equal access to marriage for same-sex couples across Britain. With that, Northern Ireland is now left behind as the only part of the UK which does not have marriage equality.
“The vote of the Scottish Parliament is a further historic step in the journey to full equality for lesbian and gay people in the United Kingdom. Scotland becoming the seventeenth country to allow for marriage for lesbian and gay couples contributes hugely to the growing international momentum for equality. A very strong message of inclusion, of value and of equality has been sent to lesbian and gay people everywhere” said Kieran Rose, GLEN Chair.
“Now, you will not be able to leave the shores of Ireland in any direction without reaching a country where civil marriage is available to lesbian and gay couples” the LGBT rights activist continued.
Lesbian and gay couples in England and Wales will be able to marry from March 29th this year. Marriage is expected to become available in Scotland later in 2014.
The Irish Government recently decided to accept the recommendation of the Constitutional Convention and will hold a referendum on access to civil marriage for lesbian and gay couples in 2015.