Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, has refused to say whether Scotland will redefine marriage while responses to the public consultation are still being analysed.
And it emerged that the consultation on an independence referendum received less than one third of the level of responses that the consultation on redefining marriage received.
Alex Salmond made the comments yesterday as he responded to a question from Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, at First Minister’s Question Time.
Mr Salmond, who last year said he personally supports redefining marriage, commented that he has a “responsibility to ensure that the debate is handled sensitively and correctly”.
The First Minister also pointed out that the issue “excites substantial interest among large sections of the Scottish population”.
And Mr Salmond said: “I believe that we have received 60,000 responses to that consultation—it might be more—and analysing them is taking some time.”
That figure, it was revealed yesterday, is tens of thousands more than the number of responses to the Government’s consultation on independence.
The independence consultation closes today and ministers yesterday said over 19,000 responses had been received.
In March a survey revealed most Scots do not want marriage redefined.
An Opinion Research Business poll of over 1,000 Scottish adults found that 53 per cent agreed that homosexual couples should not be allowed to redefine marriage for everyone else. It revealed 36 per cent disagreed.
The same poll showed that 69 per cent endorsed the view that “although death or divorce may prevent it the ideal situation for a child is to be raised by a married mother and a father”.
Scotland for Marriage, a campaign group against the redefinition of marriage, said: “These results demonstrate clearly that Scotland supports marriage with an overwhelming majority believing that wherever possible every child should be raised by a mother and a father.
“There is clearly no support whatsoever for a society which creates in law a situation which deliberately deprives a child of a mother or a father.”
Scotland for Marriage is running a petition on the issue which has been signed by over 22,000 people so far.
Those living in Scotland can sign it at scotlandformarriage.org.