First same-sex marriages take place in Scotland

Today, couples in Scotland can convert their civil partnerships into marriages for the first time

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The Independent Online

Same-sex couples have made history today, by taking advantage of Scotland’s new law which allows them to convert their civil partnerships into marriages. 

Douglas Pretsell and Peter Gloster were the first couple to upgrade their civil partnership, at the British consulate in Sydney, BBC News reported.

Due to a minimum notice period of 15 days, the first same-sex ceremonies will not take place in Scotland until Hogmanay, or the 31st December.

The 11-hour time difference between Scotland and Australia allowed Pretsell, from Edinburgh, and Gloster, from Melbourne to formalise their marriage hours before registrars in the UK.

The pair have been together for seven years, and celebrated their civil partnership in the summer of 2010 at Fenton Tower in North Berwick, East Lothian.

Mr Pretsell told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme that the couple did not intend to be the first to use the new law, but were notified by the consulate that would be by coincidence.

Later in the day, a couple identifying themselves only as Nick and Philip became the first couple in Scotland to become a married couple by converting their civil partnership.

"We're not outsiders anymore," Nick told BBC News.

Leanne and Marie Banks were also among the first round of couples to upgrade their civil partnerships, and became married at Dundee Registrar's office this morning. 

Others took to social media to celebrate the law coming into place.

In February, Scotland became the seventeenth country to legalise same-sex marriage, after the Scottish Parliament passed a law by a landslide 105 votes to 18.

Scotland has now caught up with England and Wales, where the first same-sex marriages ceremonies took place in March, and conversion began last week.

The Scottish Social Attitudes Survey reflects a shift in attitudes towards same-sex marriage in in Scotland. While in 2002, 41 per cent of Scots agreed with same-sex marriage, as many as 68 per cent showed their support in 2014,.

However, support is strongest in among members of younger generations, with 83 per cent of 18-24s in support of same-sex marriage, compared with 44 per cent of over 65s.

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