Two Thirds Back Same Sex Marriage

16 December 2014, 05:00

Support for same-sex marriage has reached a record high in Scotland, with more than two-thirds of people agreeing that gay couples should be allowed to tie the knot.

A total of 68% believe gay or lesbian couples should have the right to marry, up from just over two-fifths of the public (41%) in 2002.

The figures from ScotCen Social Research's Scottish Social Attitudes Survey were released to mark the first same-sex marriages coming into force.

While same-sex marriage ceremonies cannot take place before December 31, from today those couples who have already entered into a civil partnership can complete the necessary paperwork to convert that to a marriage.

The research found a "dramatic shift in the last 12 years towards support for same-sex marriage'', with 35% of people now "strongly agreeing''.

The 2014 survey revealed fewer than a fifth (17%) of Scots are against same-sex marriage, compared to 29% in 2002.

Younger people are more likely to believe gay couples should be allowed to wed than older Scots, with 83% of 18 to 24-year-olds in favour compared to 44% of those aged 65 and above.

But the research said: "Across all age brackets, support for marriage equality has increased and in fact the attitudes gap between the oldest and youngest has narrowed between 2010 (52 percentage points) and 2014 (39 percentage points).''

While same-sex marriage is most widely supported by those of no religious affiliation (81%), the survey suggested about 60% of those who identified themselves as Christian backed it - with 59% of those questioned who were in the Church of Scotland in agreement as well as 60% of Catholics surveyed and 58% of ``other Christians''.

However, among those who attend church or another place of worship on a weekly basis, only 33% agreed with same-sex marriage, the 2014 survey found.

Rachel Ormston, co-director of social attitudes at 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-65s 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.''