Yesterday the Scottish Government announced its intent to pass a same-sex marriage law, making it the first country of the UK to do so (although the English and Welsh governments are developing similar legislation currently).
Public support for the measure is mixed, as detailed in the consultation reports on the government’s web site. However, the Scottish National Party, the majority party in Parliament, strongly supports the measure. In contrast to Denmark’s new law, which requires all state churches to perform the ceremonies, Scottish churches will not be required to do so if they object to the practice. Today’s announcement indicates that individual clergy members will also be exempted through a planned change to Schedule 23 of the UK’s 2010 Equality Act.
An initial draft of the bill is expected by the end of the year. Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister of Scotland, told the Guardian she expects the bill to pass in 2013, after additional rounds of consultation and drafting. Barring any unexpected developments, the first wedding bells will ring in 2015.