No. 17: Scotland Approves Gay Marriage
First ones are expected to take place in the fall
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2014 4:30 PM CST
File photo.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

(Newser) – Scotland's churches want no part of the move, but the Scottish parliament today overwhelmingly approved gay marriage, reports the BBC. Scotland becomes the 17th country to sanction the marriages, with the first ones expected to take place in the fall, notes the Guardian. The Scottish Catholic Church and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland opposed the law, and they will not be required to perform same-sex ceremonies on their premises, reports Reuters.

"This is a profoundly emotional moment for many people who grew up in a country where being gay was still a criminal offense until 1980," says the policy coordinator for one advocacy group. Scotland's next big vote will be a referendum on independence from Britain in September. (England already has legalized gay marriage.)