A HIGHLAND councillor from Ross-shire has hailed the lifting of the ban on same-sex marriage and says he looks forward to making full use of the new law.
Alex MacLeod, SNP councillor for Landward Caithness, said that moves to legalise equal marriage will make equality a reality in Scotland, and welcomed the Scottish Government’s respect for freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
The Scottish Government will bring forward legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry, but no church or celebrant will be forced to carry out any ceremony that they feel contrary to their beliefs.
Cllr MacLeod said he looked forward to making full use of the new law, later in life.
"This is truly historic and momentous news," he said.
"All parties in Scotland have come together to make equality a reality here.
"Our nation aspires to equality and fairness. Today, the Scottish Government has sent a strong, positive message - that all loving couples in Scotland can enjoy the same rights, and the same recognition, regardless of who they are or who they love.
"The Scottish Government has taken great care to protect freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Special efforts will be made to ensure that no religion or celebrant will be required to perform any ceremony against their conscience. We must be clear - no church in the Highlands will be forced to carry out any marriage."
Cllr MacLeod added: "I know this move will be greeted with great optimism by many in the Highlands. I look forward to making full use of this new law - maybe a wee bit later in life."
Cllr MacLeod became the youngest ever member of the local authority when he was elected to the council in the May elections.
The 19-year-old, who worked for First Minister Alex Salmond on leaving school, lives in Delny near Tain.