Most people in Scotland want marriage to stay between a man and a woman, latest polling shows.
A majority (55 per cent) agree that “marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman”. Only 38 per cent disagree.
And half of all Scots want the matter to be decided by referendum, only 39 per cent want to leave it to MSPs. Support for a referendum is even higher amongst young people.
The poll of more than 1,000 people in Scotland was conducted by ComRes on behalf of the Scotland for Marriage campaign. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council.
Meanwhile, a complaint has been lodged with the Market Research Society (MRS) – the polling industry watchdog – over a recent poll for Stonewall Scotland by YouGov which purported to show two-thirds (65 per cent) support gay marriage.
In publishing the poll results, Stonewall Scotland failed to disclose that they had removed the 11.6 per cent of people who said they “don’t know” whether they support gay marriage or not.
This artificially inflated the support for gay marriage, and gave a misleading impression of public opinion.
The complaint also says that people were hit with a barrage of 20 questions about bullying and harassment of gay people before they were asked whether they supported gay marriage.
A Scotland for Marriage spokesman said: “When an honest poll is taken, most people in Scotland say they want to keep marriage as it is.
“And half of Scots say gay marriage should be decided by the people in a referendum, only a minority want to leave it to the politicians at Holyrood.
“The recent Stonewall Scotland poll was deeply misleading, and we have lodged an official complaint with the polling industry watchdog.
“This is an important national debate about the future of marriage, and people should take care not to distort public opinion.
“By far the largest measure of public opinion is the 77,000 people who responded to the three-month long public consultation.
“We are confident that most respondents oppose the plans, and we hope the Scottish Government will not ride roughshod over their wishes.”
The Scotland for Marriage poll has been criticised by Tom French of the Equality Network, which is campaigning for gay marriage in Scotland.
Mr French said: “Scotland for Marriage’s claims are based on a confusing and misleading question that didn’t even ask about same-sex marriage.”
But the full polling data, publicly available on the ComRes website, shows that the question did refer to same-sex marriage.
The full wording of the question was: “Do you agree or disagree with each of these statements about the proposal to legalise same-sex marriage? Marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman.”