Scotland sets date for first weddings
Earlier in the year it had been suggested that the first ceremonies would be in September but that has slipped; perhaps a matter of national pride wouldn’t let it slide into a different year. 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 same-sex 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.”