LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday gave her royal stamp of approval to Scotland‘s Marriage and Civil Partnership Act 2014, clearing the way for same-sex marriage to begin by the end of the year.
The Scottish Parliament announced Thursday that the Queen had signed the bill on Wednesday. Her approval was largely a formality, but the last step necessary for the measure to become law.
Scotland become the 17th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, after the Scottish Parliament passed the bill on Feb. 4 by an overwhelming majority.
Elsewhere in the United Kingdom, the marriage equality bill legalizing same-sex marriage in England and Wales comes into effect on March 29. Couples can begin registering their intent to marry as of today, and marry following a 16-day waiting period.
Additionally, same-sex couples who legally married outside of the United Kingdom are now legally recognized as married in England and Wales.