THE Scottish Parliament today voted by 105 to 18 to pass the law allowing gay marriage.
Campaigners hailed the decision as a historic event.
And Health Secretary Alex Neil said he hoped the necessary secondary legislation could be passed in time for the first marriages to take place later this year.
Mr Neil said: “This is a historic moment for equality in Scotland.
“I am proud that the Scottish Parliament has taken this progressive and hugely important decision in favour of equal rights in our country.
“It is right that same sex couples should be able to freely express their love and commitment to each other through getting married. Marriage is about love, and that has always been at the heart of this issue.
“That was the clear message from Scotland’s Parliament today. We must no longer allow same sex couples who wish to get married to be barred from doing so.
“Thanks to this bill, same sex couples now have the same access to marriage – one of our most important institutions - as everyone else.
“There has been overwhelming support for this Bill from the beginning and many MSPs from across the political spectrum have expressed considered, personal opinions.
“We now need to work quickly and in close co-operation with Westminster on implementation. On that basis, I very much look forward to seeing the first same sex marriages taking place in Scotland as soon as is possible.”
Tom French, policy coordinator for the Equality Network, said: “Today will be remembered in history as the day that lesbian, gay and bisexual people were finally granted full legal equality in Scotland, and given an equal right to marry the person they love.
“This is a profoundly emotional moment for many people who grew up in a country where being gay was still a criminal offence until 1980.
“Scotland can be proud that we now have one of the most progressive equal marriage bills in the world, and that we’ve sent out a strong message about the kind of country we are. We know this change means so much to LGBT people across Scotland and we look forward to the first same-sex marriages taking place as soon as possible.”