Scotland’s Parliament Approves Same-Sex Marriage Bill In 105-18 Vote!

Scotland’s parliament has passed a same-sex marriage bill in a 105-18 vote today. The first gay and lesbian weddings could take place by this autumn.

The BBC reports:

Religious and belief bodies can “opt in” to perform same-sex marriages.

Ministers said no part of the religious community would be forced to hold such ceremonies in churches.

During a debate at Holyrood, MSPs rejected amendments which were said to provide “protection” for groups and individuals opposed to same-sex marriage.

The SNP’s John Mason tabled an amendment stating that no-one could be “compelled by any means” to solemnise gay marriage, including by a contract or a legal requirement.

Mr Mason said that this was similar to a measure included in the bill passed by the UK Parliament allowing same-sex marriage in England and Wales.

Health Secretary Alex Neil insisted there were “robust protections for religious bodies and celebrants” in the bill and the amendment was unnecessary.

Mr Mason tabled further amendments, including one calling for recognition that “a belief in marriage as a voluntary union between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others for life is a belief worthy of respect in a democratic society”.