Most Scottish people support gay marriage

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The majority of Scottish people are in favour of allowing gay couples to marry, a poll suggests.

According to an Angus Reid poll conducted for the Green Party, 58 per cent of the 1,001 respondents said they were in favour of full marriage equality.

Twenty-three per cent said they did not agree or disagree, while just 17 per cent were opposed.

Currently, gay couples in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can have civil partnerships. These give almost all of the rights and benefits of marriage.

However, gay couples may not have religious ceremonies and gay campaigners are pushing for full equality.

A recent survey of LGBT readers found that 98 per cent were in favour of opening up marriage and civil partnerships to gay and straight couples.

Meanwhile, a 2009 Populus poll of the general population for The Times found that 61 per cent of respondents believe gay couples should be able to marry.

The UK’s largest gay rights charity, Stonewall, says it is currently consulting its supporters on the issue.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie has tabled a motion to support the change and today predicted that the Scottish government would back same-sex marriage during Holyrood’s next session.

He said: “Full legal equality for same-sex couples who want to marry and for mixed-sex couples who want civil partnership instead would be much more in keeping with this increasingly inclusive Scottish public opinion.

“I believe there are enough supporters in all political parties for it to be changed during the next parliament.

“Soon we will look back on the current arrangement with the same disbelief young Americans have when they find out there used to be a ban on inter-racial marriage.”

Prime minister David Cameron is the only main party leader not to unequivocally support marriage equality. He has said that the coalition government will look at the arguments for it.

Deputy prime minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg is in favour of the change, as is new Labour leader Ed Miliband.