Alex Salmond formally included a Bill to rewrite the definition of marriage as he unveiled the Scottish Government’s new legislative programme this week.
However, supporters of traditional marriage have vowed to fight the Bill “with every breath”.
The SNP-led Government’s plan to introduce same-sex marriage has encountered widespread opposition.
Two-thirds of the responses to the Government’s own consultation on the matter were opposed to any change.
But on Tuesday the First Minister announced that the contentious plan was included in a series of 15 Bills which will be brought before the Scottish Parliament in the coming parliamentary year.
A spokesman for Scotland for Marriage, a pro-marriage campaign group, said: “We will continue to fight with every breath to preserve the existing definition of marriage and have prepared a concerted programme of action designed to spearhead the growing opposition in the country.”
Mr Salmond said: “In promoting a fairer Scotland, we will legislate for equal rights. Our Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill will enable same-sex couples to get married, and will allow civil partnerships to be registered through a religious ceremony.”
The SNP-led Government claims that amending the Equality Act will protect those who believe in traditional marriage.
But a legal opinion by Aidan O’Neill QC, a leading human rights lawyer, makes clear this won’t be enough.
According to the advice teachers who refuse to use storybooks about same-sex marriage because it conflicts with their religious beliefs could be dismissed.
NHS chaplains who preach about traditional marriage in church could be disciplined under equality policies – even if they were off duty at the time.
Would-be Christian foster carers who express opposition to same-sex marriage could be turned away by social workers.
And church groups could be prevented from using community centres if their church refuses to conduct same-sex weddings.