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Scotland has become the 17th country to give the green light to same-sex marriage despite opposition from its main church organisations.The Scottish government, which will hold a referendum on independence from Britain in September, said passing the same-sex marriage bill was an important step for equal rights and paved the way for same-sex wedding ceremonies later this year.
Currently in Scotland, same-sex couples can enter into civil partnerships."This is a profoundly emotional moment for many people who grew up in a country where being gay was still a criminal offence until 1980," Equality Network policy coordinator Tom French said in a statement.
The legislation to allow same-sex marriage first entered the Scottish parliament for debate in June last year despite opposition from church and other religious groups.
Under the law, civil marriage ceremonies can take place in any place agreed between the couple and the registrar, other than religious premises.
Opposing the move, the Church of Scotland said same-sex marriage fundamentally changed marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman.
The Evangelical Alliance Scotland described the move as "legal fiction" and a "blow to society" at a time when Scotland is about to vote in September on whether to split from the rest of Britain and become an independent country."At a time in Scotland when we are considering what kind of nation we want to live in, this legislation sends all the wrong signals about the place of marriage and family in modern day Scotland," spokesman Fred Drummond told Christian Today website.