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Scottish women in this period had something of a reputation among foreign observers for being forthright individuals, with the Spanish ambassador to the court of James IV noting that they were "absolute mistresses of their houses and even their husbands".

Both parties to a marriage are required to independently submit marriage notice forms to the registrar of the district in which the marriage is to take place.

In September 2011, the Scottish Government launched a public consultation on the introduction of same-sex marriage, with the Scottish Government indicating it "tend[ed] towards the view that same-sex marriage should be introduced".

In the late Middle Ages and early modern era, women could marry from the age of 12 (while for boys it was from 14) and, while many girls from the social elite married in their teens, most in the Lowlands married only after a period of life-cycle service, in their twenties.

A further law change was made in 1940 to abolish these irregular marriages by declaration. Gretna Green remains a favoured location for marriage because of its romantic associations, with Dumfries and Galloway (the council area containing Gretna Green) the most popular area to get married in Scotland in 2015 (4,395 marriages in Dumfries and Galloway, out of a total of 29,691 marriages throughout Scotland). Marriage must be between two otherwise unmarried people.

(Foreign divorces are generally recognised, but existing foreign polygamous marriages prevent a marriage in Scotland as this would be treated as bigamy). Under Scots law, one may not marry one's: The list of proscribed affinities was reduced in the early twentieth century by the Deceased Wife's Sister's Marriage Act 1907, the Deceased Brother's Widow's Marriage Act 1921 and the Marriage (Prohibited Degrees) Relationship Act 1931.

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An irregular marriage could result from mutual agreement, by a public promise followed by consummation, or by cohabitation and repute.

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