Policy Document

Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Scotland) Act 2014




United Kingdom


Family & Children


Marriage & Registered Partnerships

Main implications

The act extends marriage to same-sex couples in Scotland. The main provisions of the Act are as follows: allowing same sex couples to marry in civil ceremonies; allowing same-sex couples to marry in religious ceremonies, where the religious organisation has opted in to conduct such ceremonies and the minister agrees; protecting religious organisations that wish to opt out from legal challenge; allowing transsexual people to stay married upon obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate. The act does not contain provisions for the conversion of civil partnerships registered in Scotland into marriage, but provides for its later introduction in the law; moreover, it permits those who are already in civil partnerships to get married without dissolving their partnership. Finally, the act makes it clear that the introduction of same-sex marriage has no impact on existing rights to freedom of speech and that it is possible to oppose same-sex marriage “without being homophobic” (Campbell, 2014).

Benefits & Requirements

Coverage: Eligible groups or beneficiaries

Same-sex couples in Scotland.

Minimum age of marriage required established by this document

16 for both sexes.

Does this document allow for registered partnership?


Do partners have the same rights as those who are married?

Civil partners have similar, but not equal rights to married couples (see Civil Partnership Act 2004). Nevertheless, this Act gives civil partners the right to convert their civil partnership into a marriage.

Minimum age required for registered partnerships established by this document:


Does this document recognize cohabitation as a legal union?


Does this document recognize same-sex unions?

This Act makes the marriage of same-sex couples lawful in Scotland.

Read the Law

Full Text Source in English

2014, Act of the Scottish Parliament No.5

Original full text source in native language

2014, Act of the Scottish Parliament No.5

Full text web source in English


Original full text web source in native language


Comments & Clarifications

As of 2014, same-sex marriage is lawful in England and Wales and in Scotland. In Northern Ireland, same-sex marriages are only recognised as civil partnerships under the Civil Partnership Act 2004.

Secondary Literature & Sources

Secondary literature

Campbell, G. “Scotland’s same-sex marriage bill is passed”. BBC News Scotland, 4 February 2014. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-25960225


Ernestina Coast, Ginevra Floridi & Wendy Sigle
London School of Economics and Political Science

Data collected in the framework of the Population Europe Research Finder and Archive (PERFAR)

Cite as

SPLASH-db.eu (2014): Policy: "Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Scotland) Act 2014" (Information provided by Ernestina Coast, Ginevra Floridi & Wendy Sigle). Available at: https://splash-db.eu [Date of access].