John M. Becker

Queen Elizabeth II Makes Marriage Equality the Law in Scotland

Filed By John M. Becker | March 13, 2014 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Catholic Church, Church of Scotland, equal marriage, gay marriage, marriage equality, Queen Elizabeth, royal assent, same-sex marriage, Scotland, spousal veto, UK, United Kingdom

rainbow-queen-elizabeth.jpgToday, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II granted her Royal Assent to the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill.

By this act, the Queen gave her official approval to the measure, which overwhelmingly passed the Scottish Parliament last month, and in so doing gave the bill the force of law.

While there are still a few minor kinks to iron out, same-sex couples in Scotland should be able to marry by the end of the year.

Scotland's marriage equality law contains extensive religious protections: officials and religious groups will not be required to perform same-sex weddings but can opt-in if they so choose, and individual celebrants who support marriage equality but whose faith groups oppose it (i.e. pro-equality Catholic priests) will not be allowed to solemnize same-sex marriages. Furthermore, it includes a symbolic provision stating that it is possible to oppose same-sex marriage "without being homophobic."

In a victory for trans advocates, the law ends the "spousal veto," which required married trans people to obtain written permission from their spouse before they could be granted gender recognition. It also allows them to stay married when obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate, rather than requiring them to get divorced.

Its passage comes as a major victory over Scotland's two major churches, the Scottish Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland (a Presbyterian church), both of which vehemently opposed the measure.

Scotland is the third country in the United Kingdom to allow same-sex couples the freedom to marry; England and Wales passed marriage equality in July 2013. This leaves Northern Ireland as the only country in the UK that continues to practice marriage discrimination.

Congratulations, Scotland, and welcome to the right side of history!


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