First same-sex weddings to take place in Scotland

Image source, Tinged Memories/Equality Network
Image caption,
Joe Schofield (left) and partner Malcolm Brown (right) will be among the first to marry under the new law

Scotland's first same-sex weddings are due to take place on New Year's Eve.

Joe Schofield and Malcolm Brown will tie the knot at a humanist ceremony at the Trades Hall in Glasgow, while Susan and Gerrie Douglas-Scott will be married in private.

The new law on gay marriage came into effect in Scotland earlier this month and these first weddings are due to be held at 00:01 on Hogmanay.

The couples will be joined by guests including the First Minister.

Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie MSP will act as witnesses at the marriage of Susan and Gerrie, while Scotland's national poet Liz Lochhead and Scottish government minister Marco Biagi MSP are expected to attend the ceremony for Mr Schofield and Mr Brown.

A total of 250 couples have converted their civil partnerships to marriage since the new law - the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill - came into effect on 16 December.

Following the usual 15-day notice period for marriages, Hogmanay is the first day same-sex weddings can take place.

Same-sex marriage was legalised in England and Wales earlier this year and the first weddings took place in March.

Image source, Tinged Memories/Equality Network
Image caption,
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will attend the wedding of Susan and Gerrie Douglas-Scott

Scotland's first minister said: "This a momentous day for equality in Scotland, one where same sex couples have the right to marry the person that they love.

"I am personally proud that as Health Secretary, I led the consultation which started this journey. I said then that it was the right thing to do, and I believe that today.

"This will send a powerful message to people about the kind of country we are."

According to the Scottish government, 17 same-sex couples are expected to marry on Hogmanay.

Tom French, from the charity the Equality Network - which campaigns for the rights of Scotland's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities - said: "While our campaign for equal marriage in Scotland was fundamentally about changing the law it was also about changing attitudes too.

"Our government and our political leaders are proud to stand up for LGBTI equality.

"When many young LGBTI people still face prejudice and lack confidence, and when so many countries around the world still criminalise LGBTI people, it can't be overestimated how important it is to see this kind of visible leadership from our politicians."