UK

First Gay Weddings Take Place In Scotland After Stroke Of Midnight

31/12/2014 09:21 GMT | Updated 31/12/2014 09:59 GMT

Two couples have tied the knot on the stroke of midnight in Scotland's first same-sex weddings.

Joe Schofield and Malcolm Brown, both 42, and Susan Douglas-Scott, 54, and Gerrie Douglas-Scott, 59, are the first of 17 couples to marry on Hogmanay.

MSPs passed the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill in February, making Scotland the 17th country in the world to legalise same-sex ceremonies.

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More than 250 couples have converted their civil partnerships to marriage since the law came into effect on December 16.

But New Year's Eve is the first day after the usual 15-day notice period for marriages that same-sex weddings can take place.

Mr Schofield, a public health worker, and Mr Brown, a former DJ, both from Tullibody in Clackmannanshire, have been together for nine years and were married by Humanist Society Scotland celebrant Ross Wright at the Trades Hall, Glasgow.

They said: "We are very proud to be one of the first couples in Scotland to be able to officially call ourselves husband and husband.

"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."

Scotland's First Same-Sex Weddings

The Douglas-Scotts, who are both humanist marriage celebrants, live in Glasgow and have five grown-up children.

They had a civil partnership in March 2006 and decided to convert it through a full marriage ceremony at a private venue in the city.

The couple said: "We are delighted that, at long last, after 18 years together our love finally has the same recognition in law and society as all other married couples.

"As humanist celebrants ourselves, we have had the privilege of marrying many hundreds of people over the last few years and so we know how special and important marriage is."

Both couples were joined by family and friends as well as LGBT equality campaigners.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Green MSP Patrick Harvie acted as witnesses at the marriage of the Douglas-Scotts while Scots Makar Liz Lochhead and local government and community empowerment minister Marco Biagi acted as witnesses for Mr Schofield and Mr Brown.

Mr Schofield, originally from Manchester, and Mr Brown were piped into the room at the Trades Hall where the ceremony took place, and walked up the aisle together.

The ceremony began at around 11.30pm and as the clock struck midnight a Glasgow City Council representative came forward with the marriage schedule which she handed to celebrant Mr Wright.

The couple, who were dressed in kilts, then exchanged rings and embraced, before signing the marriage register.

Liz Lochhead then read a sonnet which she had composed especially for the occasion.

Before reading it she said: "I'm really really incredibly honoured to be here tonight and I'm so glad that this pair wanted poetry to be part of their ceremony."

The couple also drank whisky from a quaich, often referred to as "the loving cup" together in the "sharing of the quaich" tradition.

After the ceremony the couple were showered with confetti as they left the venue.