Last year Luxembourg became the ninth EU country to legalise same-sex marriage – and today the law came into effect.
Jean Paul Olinger and Henri Lorenzo Huber were the first same-sex couple to take advantage of the law, with Differdange town hall opening for the ceremony despite the New Year’s Day bank holiday.
The bill passed by a landslide last summer – with 56 votes in favour and 4 against. Luxembourg has an openly gay Prime Minister, the Liberal Xavier Bettel, and also an out-gay Deputy Prime Minister, Socialist party leader Etienne Schneider.
The first day of same-sex weddings in Scotland saw 34 people get hitched today. On the stroke of midnight the first two ceremonies were conducted in Glasgow – Joe Schofield and Malcolm Brown in a humanist ceremony, and Susan and Gerrie Douglas-Scott in a civil ceremony. Members of the Scottish Parliament were in attendance at both weddings – First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as witness to the wedding of Susan and Gerrie.
Read more on Bi Community News
The Lib Dems blocked the first draft of the conversion process
The government’s second draft of rules for converting a civil partnership to a marriage has been published today.
They will come into effect from 10th December and apply to Wales & England. It’s expected that Scotland will have its own equivalent rules published in the near future.
You can read the legislation here.
The Scottish Government has at last announced the date for the first same-sex marriage ceremonies in Scotland: 31st December 2014!
Same-sex marriage will be legal in Scotland from 16 December, but that is only the date from which couples can submit notice that they intend to get married. There is a standard 15 day notice period for registering marriages in Scotland, so the earliest wedding ceremonies will be allowed happen on 31 December. That said, couples with extenuating circumstances may be able to get a shorter notice period by applying to the Registrar General.
Same-sex marriages can be performed by registrars and by religious and belief bodies that agree to do so. Quakers, the Unitarians, and the Humanist Society Scotland are expected to take up this opportunity to celebrate relationships.
If you want to convert your civil partnership to marriage you will be able to do so from 16 December. As with Wales and England, converting an existing civil partnership will be free for the first year of the new law.
The Equality Network offer some top tips for those who want to be among the first to get married:
“If you want to be one of the first to marry, or to change your civil partnership to a marriage, we strongly recommend that you contact your local registry office asap to book a date and talk about the practicalities involved.
“If you want your marriage performed by a religious or humanist celebrant, make arrangements with them first and then contact the registry office about submitting notice. You will not be able to submit your marriage notice form or convert your civil partnership before the 16 December, but you can book a date and prepare arrangements in advance. We expect the first few months of the new law will be a very busy period for registry offices, so if you don’t book early you may have to wait a while for an available date.”
Conservative MP for East Worthing & Shoreham Tim Loughton will tomorrow propose the extension of Civil Partnerships to mixed-sex couples.
The proposal is a very short Private Members Bill that would simply remove the words “same-sex” from the original 2004 Act
Loughton voted against same-sex marriage last year, writing to a constituent as Minister for Children and Families that, “for me, marriage as a religious institution cannot be anything other than between a man and a woman, and particularly when all the rights and responsibilities of marriage are available to non-heterosexual couples through civil partnerships.”
Bi Community News editor Jen Yockney told BiMedia: “It may have come from an unexpected quarter but this would be a welcome reform, largely restoring the Civil Partnership legislation to the original Bill as proposed in 2002, which the government of the time rewrote to exclude mixed-sex couples.”
“The BCN reader survey two years ago showed strong support from bis for this change.”
Find out more about the progress of the Bill here.