SAME-SEX marriages have come into being for the first time today in Scotland.
Dozens of couples already in civil partnerships completed the necessary paperwork to convert the partnership into a marriage today.
Other same-sex couples can give notice of their intention to wed, with the first ceremonies scheduled for hogmanay.
The Scottish Parliament overwhelmingly voted in favour of legislation to permit gay marriages in February when the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill was passed by 105 votes to 18.
Scott and David Barclay were among the first to become a married couple in Glasgow today following their civil partnership in 2007.
Friends and family gathered at the City Chambers to be part of the occasion and showered them with confetti as they left the venue.
Scott said: “It’s so important just to be equal. David and I are a couple who contribute to society, we work and pay our taxes and all of that, but actually we were always very aware that we were never allowed to be married. I was never allowed to call him my husband.
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“Even in the civil partnership ceremony we were only seen as ‘partners’, so now to actually be married just means a huge amount to us personally.”
David added: “I think it’s a big step forward that we are on an equal footing with our friends and relatives now rather than before when there was that difference in law between our relationship and others.”
Despite being through a civil partnership ceremony, the couple were no less relaxed ahead of becoming married.
Scott said: “I don’t know if it was any more relaxed but certainly this has been much more fun, it really has been.
“We’re just so happy to be one of the first in Scotland, it’s such an honour and part of history.”
Earlier in the day, a Scottish man living in Australia made immediate use of the new law by becoming married at the British Consulate in Melbourne at one minute past midnight UK time (11.01am Australian Eastern Daylight Time).
Douglas Pretsell, 47, who is originally from Edinburgh, and Peter Gloster, 47, from Melbourne, have been together for seven years and had their civil partnership in August 2010 at Fenton Tower in North Berwick, East Lothian.
The couple said: “We are so proud of Scotland for introducing equal marriage and we hope that other countries like Australia will soon follow Scotland’s lead.
“We always considered our civil partnership to be our marriage, but in the eyes of the law and society it wasn’t held in the same regard.
“Prior to today, same-sex couples were deliberately treated as though our relationships were inferior and not worthy of the same recognition or respect.
“Well, from today it’s official, we are married and we have the certificate to prove it.”
The Equality Network, Scotland’s national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality charity, who ran the Equal Marriage campaign in Scotland, welcomed the new law as a “hugely important step forward for LGBTI rights”.
Opponents remain to the change in law but support for same-sex marriage has reached a record high in Scotland, according to a survey.
The figures from ScotCen Social Research’s Scottish Social Attitudes Survey were released to mark the first same-sex marriages coming into force and found that a total of 68% believe gay or lesbian couples should have the right to marry, up from just over two-fifths of the public (41%) in 2002.
Local government and communities minister Marco Biagi said: “The consultation (on same-sex marriage) was the most responded-to in Scottish Government history with more than 70,000 responses and we now know with independent academic research that support for same-sex marriage stands at almost five to one against opposition.
“That’s a huge level of support, a huge outpouring and a real message for the kind of accepting Scotland we now live in.”
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