MSPs pass same-sex marriage bill

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MSPs overwhelmingly voted to pass the Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill after the final debate on the legislation, on 4 February 2014.

At decision time, following the second part of the debate, 105 MSPs backed the legislation and 18 MSPs voted against it, leading to long sustained celebration and applause in the chamber and the gallery.

In his closing speech Health Secretary Alex Neil said if the bill was passed it would be one of the "great historic days of the parliament" as it sent out the message about Scotland being "where we all believe in live and let live".

Scottish Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell voted against the legislation, saying in the bill would "inhibit people from expressing their religious beliefs".

Green MSP Patrick Harvie said the message being sent by passing the bill was "extremely positive" and called on the parliament to look towards countries where the "fight for equality and LGBT human rights is about life and death still".

Mr Harvie said as Glasgow welcomed countries to the Commonwealth Games, it was important to tell the story of Scotland's progress on the issues.

Under the bill, religious bodies would 'opt-in' to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.

In addition, protection would also be offered to individual celebrants who felt it would go against their faith to carry out gay weddings.

Same-sex couples in Scotland currently have the option to enter into civil partnerships, and the Holyrood government has insisted no part of the religious community would be forced to hold same-sex weddings in churches.

It will be October, at the earliest, before gay and lesbian couples can tie the knot in Scotland.

The first part of the debate can be viewed below:

Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill debate 1

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