Scotland Closer to Legalizing Gay Marriage

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The Scottish government could soon be the first in the United Kingdom to legalize same-sex marriage.

Scotland's deputy first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said this week that legislation permitting the marriages has the support of major political parties.

If approved, the earliest ceremonies could take place by January 2015.

"We are committed to a Scotland that is fair and equal, and that is why we intend to proceed with plans to allow same-sex marriage and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships," Sturgeon said. "We believe that this is the right thing to do."

Same-sex couples in Scotland currently have the option to enter into civil unions.

The Catholic Church and Church of Scotland opposed the move.

Government leaders claim no religious group would be forced to perform same-sex marriages.

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