Same-sex marriage: SNP finds opinion as polarised in Scotland

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THE Commons vote will only apply south of the Border, with the Scottish Government currently consulting on its own plans to legalise gay weddings.

Scottish Government ministers have published draft legis­lation that could see gay marriage introduced in Scotland as early as 2014.

The Scottish proposals have received cross-party support at Holyrood. But a consultation on the principle of the change earlier last year polarised opinion, with gay rights groups pitched against religious campaigners.

There was also a majority against same-sex marriage in ast year’s Scottish Government consultation.

However, ministers have now launched a second consultation on the make-up of the draftbill to be put to the ScottishParliament.

Church leaders have previously said the new laws do not include enough “protections for religious bodies and individuals” and are calling for “more safeguards”.

The Church of Scotland and Roman Catholic Church, in common with other religions, will have to “opt in” if they want to carry out same-sex ceremonies under the SNP plans.

But Scottish ministers have insisted no part of the religious community would be forced to hold same-sex weddings in churches.

Some of the strongest attacks on changing the law in Scotland came from the Catholic Church last year.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien said: “Marriage is under threat and politicians need to know the Catholic Church will bear any burden and meet any cost in its defence.”

However, the main parties at Holyrood have largely avoided the splits on the issue experienced at Westminster.

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has been one of the leading backers of a change to the law. The SNP has also largely been united on the issue.