Just 17 percent of Scots now oppose equal marriage, as first couples wed

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Less than two in ten Scots remain opposed to same-sex marriage in Scotland, as the country’s marriage law comes into effect.

Civil partners in Scotland have begun to convert to marriages today, while unwed couples will be able to register their intent to marry.

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act came into effect at midnight – though the country enforces a usual 15-day notice period on all new weddings, meaning the first ‘new’ same-sex weddings will not take place until December 31.

The notice period will not apply for couples who are already in Scottish civil partnerships – who can begin marrying immediately

A study by ScotCen Social Research released to mark the occasion shows that opposition to equality has dropped to a new all-time low ahead of the changes, with 68 percent in favour and just 17 percent opposed.

The numbers are a marked change from 2010, when 61 percent were in favour and 19 percent against – and a seismic shift from 2002, when just 41 percent were in favour and 29 percent opposed.

A majority of people from all self-identified Christian denominations now support same-sex marriage – with 59 percent support from the Church of Scotland, 60 percent from Catholics, and 58 percent from other Christians.

However, support from people who attend church once a week or more remains low, at 33 percent.

Over-65s are the only age group without a majority in favour of same-sex marriage – with 44 percent backing equality. The stats still mark a seismic shift from just four years ago, when 29 percent supported it.

Rachel Ormston of ScotCen Social Research said: “Increasingly we are witnessing a consensus in favour of same-sex marriage emerging in Scotland.

“The demographic analysis shows that the vast majority of groups in Scottish society now back the idea. It’s only among those who attend religious services regularly and the over sixty-fives where a majority remain opposed.”

“What’s particularly interesting is the shift since 2010.

“Attitudes within some groups that have been typically more likely to disagree with gay marriage have liberalised considerably over the last four years, and looking at the longer term trends it seems likely that they will continue to do so.”