The Scottish people should decide whether marriage is redefined by holding a referendum, Scotland’s top Roman Catholic has said.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien says the issue has stirred up far more interest amongst the public than the issue of Scottish independence.
A public consultation on the plans for gay marriage attracted 77,000 responses – the largest ever response since devolution.
Meanwhile the public consultation on an independence referendum attracted just 26,000 responses.
The Scottish Government is expected to announce later this week whether or not it will proceed with plans to redefine marriage.
The Roman Catholic Church has pledged to raise £100,000 to campaign against any plans to redefine marriage.
The Cardinal said: “The Scottish government’s consultation on redefining marriage had three times more respondents than the consultation on the constitution, demonstrating clearly that far more people are concerned about fundamental matters of morality at the present time.
“Clearly, if it is sensible to hold a referendum on independence, it is crucial that we have one on marriage. It is the only way the country can move forward on this issue.
“Let all those who have a view on this subject place their trust in the Scottish people and let Scotland decide.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The cabinet have had a first discussion on the next steps following the consultation on same sex marriage and the registration of civil partnerships and have asked for some further detail.
“We fully expect to be in a position to publish the way ahead this month.”