Gay and lesbian couples have started marrying in Scotland.
A gay marriage law approved in February by the Scottish Parliament took effect earlier this month, but a 15-day waiting period meant the first weddings didn't take place until December 31, known in Scotland as the Hogmanay. Couples in existing civil partnerships were able to convert their unions into marriages at the law's start. More than 250 couples have already done so.
According to the Guardian, Joe Schofield and Malcolm Brown, both 42, and Susan Douglas-Scott, 54, and Gerrie Douglas-Scott, 59, were the first to marry on Hogmanay at the stroke of midnight. Both ceremonies took place in Glasgow.
“We are very proud to be one of the first couples in Scotland to be able to officially call ourselves husband and husband,” Schofield and Brown said in a statement.
“This is an amazing chapter in Scotland's history which we are all witnessing and can be proud of.”
“Scotland is leading the way in fairness and equality for all, and we would like to thank all those who campaigned so tirelessly for this change,” they added.
The Douglas-Scotts have been together 18 years and raised five children. They entered a civil partnership in 2006.
Scotland's two largest churches, the Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland, opposed passage of the law. But other religious groups, including Quakers, Buddhists and the Pagan Federation, supported passage.
Scotland introduced civil partnerships for gay couples in 2005.