Friends make history in Scotland

The first same-sex marriage in Scotland was celebrated by Edinburgh Friends in February

The first same-sex marriage carried out by a recognised church in Scotland was recently celebrated by Edinburgh Friends.

Mark Bitel and Tony Gross were married on Valentine’s Day at Edinburgh Meeting House. They were joined by more than two hundred family, friends and fellow Quakers.

Mark and Tony have been together for twenty-one years and have had two previous celebrations of their relationship. In August 2005 they celebrated a Meeting for Steadfast Commitment at the Meeting house, followed by a civil partnership in Kirkwall on 14 February 2006.

Tony believes that it was important to have the third ceremony ‘to honour his commitment to Mark but also the commitment of all the people who have worked hard to make equal marriage a reality.’ He explained: ‘When I was growing up being gay was a criminal offence. I never believed that I would see all this progress in my lifetime.’

Mark said: ‘to be married in a public ceremony that is the same as any other couple means so much to me. It’s so much more meaningful to me than a civil partnership. Our marriage will be a union of equal comrades.’ Tony and Mark also stated that they feel only when civil partnerships are available to opposite-sex couples will there be true relationship equality, as not all couples wish to be married.

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