Over the past 15 years, bit by bit, discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation has been removed from Scots law. At each step, the Scottish Parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favour of the change and, over the same period, public opinion has continued to move strongly in favour too.
The introduction of civil partnership in 2004 was followed by a big rise in support for same-sex marriage, from 41 per cent in 2002, to 61 per cent in 2010, according to the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey.
The strong, majority support for equal marriage in Scotland remained solid throughout the lengthy public debate on the issue. Opposition among those under 35 is now less than 10 per cent.
There is every reason to suppose that, as has been the experience in other countries, public support for equal marriage will rise further over the decade following the introduction of the new law at the end of this year.
The idea that one combats prejudice against a minority by denying that minority equal legal rights, in the hope that people will then “tolerate” them and leave them alone, is a counsel of despair.