Scotland's parliament has passed marriage equality in a 105-18 vote, the BBC reports:
The Scottish government said the move was the right thing to do but Scotland's two main churches were opposed to it. The first gay and lesbian weddings could take place this autumn.
Religious and belief bodies can "opt in" to perform same-sex marriages.Ministers said no part of the religious community would be forced to hold such ceremonies in churches.
During a debate at Holyrood, MSPs rejected amendments which were said to provide "protection" for groups and individuals opposed to same-sex marriage.
The SNP's John Mason tabled an amendment stating that no-one could be "compelled by any means" to solemnise gay marriage, including by a contract or a legal requirement.
MSPs are expected to pass Scotland's marriage equality bill in an overwhelming vote on Tuesday, the Herald reports:
The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill will legalise civil and religious same-sex marriages, with an "opt-in" procedure for faiths and celebrants willing to conduct ceremonies and legal protection for those who object. It also relaxes the rules on where civil marriages can take place, and establishes non-religious or "belief" marriage ceremonies.
Health Secretary Alex Neil, who has piloted the law through Holyrood, will tell Parliament he expects the first same-sex marriages will take place in Scotland by the end of the year.
However, behind the scenes, Scottish Government officials hope the process can move at a far quicker pace. It is understood that if a Section 104 Order under the Scotland Act is put through Westminster at full speed, it would enable same-sex marriages in Scotland by July.
A legal challenge to the marriage equality law is looking "increasingly remote" according to the paper.
The first same-sex marriages in England and Wales, which passed marriage equality last year, will take place on March 29.
A freak animal encounter has left Kate Stone, a Cambridge research engineer and owner of U.K. tech company Novalia, in critical condition. Stone was attacked by a deer outside of a home in a small Scotland town, and sustained major damage to both her spinal column and throat. Doctors reported that Stone was in "serious and stable condition" as of January 1st.
Gary Burton, owner of the Mo-Dhachaidh Guest House where Stone was staying, told the Press and Journal: "I understand Kate is critical in the hospital's intensive care unit.She was telling me she enjoyed the outdoors in the hills and camping on her own in remote places so any form of paralysis to such an active person will be a disaster. The incident is absolutely shocking and so unexpected. There are plenty of deer around here but you never hear of a stag attacking anyone. The force of the attack must have been ferocious. I went to the scene and found Kate's mobile phone smashed into tiny bits."
An official from Scotland's version of Fish and Game told the Telegraph that this type of deer attack is "highly unusual – a chance in a million.”
The buck was reportedly found in the guest house's garden, and it may have felt cornered by Stone and her group of friends. Still, the nature of the incident is disturbing and odd, to say the least. Our thoughts are with Stone as she recovers.
Be sure and check out a TED Talk video in which Stone discusses her research, AFTER THE JUMP...
29-year-old Joe Richardson has been officiating soccer games for over 12 years, but his experience earned him no respect at a game in Perthshire. During the match a player was suspended for violent conduct, which earned some slurs directed at Richardson. Later in the match, multiple players began hurling slurs, with one in particular approaching Richardson's boyfriend, 24-year-old Jack Nicholson, and telling him, "I hope you’re proud of your boyfriend, I’ll punch your f***ing teeth in."
Richardson reported the threats to the police and the Angus and Perthshire Referees Association, the latter of whom offered no support, telling Richardson that it was a criminal matter and he'd have to take care of it himself. Richardson spoke out on Facebook about the lack of support from the Association; the Association in turn expelled Richardson from the organization.
Richardson has appealed to the Scottish Football Association, and the police are investigating his criminal complaint.
Scotland's marriage equality bill moved forward in parliament yesterday, the BBC reports:
The Scottish government's Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill passed the first of three parliamentary hurdles by 98 votes to 15 with five abstentions.
Ministers said the move was the right thing to do, but the Church of Scotland and Catholic Church are opposed. Religious and belief bodies would "opt in" to perform same-sex marriages.
Same-sex couples in Scotland currently have the option to enter into civil partnerships, and there has been an indication that the earliest gay marriage ceremonies could take place by the start of 2015, if the legislation is passed.
The bill must now pass through a parliamentary committee before it is considered again by the full parliament, probably early next year.
If you'd like to watch the whole debate of the bill yesterday, you can do so,
AFTER THE JUMP...