A total of 68% of Scotland’s residents believe LGBTI couples should have the right to marry; showing support for marriage equality is at a record high and opposition at a record low.
The ScotCen Social Research’s Scottish Social Attitudes Survey findings were released to mark the first same-sex marriages coming into force in Scotland.
According to the survey 68% of people in Scotland now agree that same-sex couples should have the right to marry while 17% remain opposed – a majority of four to one.
The Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, considered one of the most robust studies of public opinion in Scotland, has shown a dramatic rise in support for same-sex marriage and steady decline in opposition since the survey was started in 1999.
Previous surveys revealed 61% support and 19% opposition in 2010, 53% support and 21% opposition in 2006, and 41% support and 29% opposition in 2002.
The Equality Network welcomed the results of the survey which they say shows support for same-sex marriage is now the norm.
Tom French, told KaleidoScot: “The Scottish Social Attitudes survey is a respected independent measurement of public opinion and these latest results show that, on the day Scotland’s historic equal marriage legislation comes into effect, support for same-sex marriage in Scotland is now the norm.
“With the first same-sex marriages taking place this morning and public support at a record high, we are sending out a strong message to the world about the kind of fair and equal country we all want Scotland to be.”
Rachel Ormston, Co-Director of Social Attitudes at ScotCen Social Research, commented: “Increasingly we are witnessing a consensus in favour of same-sex marriage emerging in Scotland. The demographic analysis shows that the vast majority of groups in Scottish society now back the idea. It’s only among those who attend religious services regularly and the over sixty-fives where a majority remain opposed.
“What’s particularly interesting is the shift since 2010. Attitudes within some groups that have been typically more likely to disagree with gay marriage have liberalised considerably over the last four years, and looking at the longer term trends it seems likely that they will continue to do so.”
A breakdown of the latest Scottish Social Attitudes survey also reveals that support is highest among young people (83% of 18-24 year olds), though support among over 65s, traditionally the least supportive age group, has also been steadily rising over the past 12 years, from just 17% support in 2002 to 44% today, with 32% of that age group opposed.
The study also showed that women (72%) are more likely to support same-sex marriage than men (63%), though a majority of both genders remain supportive.
Similarly, while support is highest among people with no religious belief (81%) a majority of those affiliated with Scotland’s major Christian denominations also support same-sex marriage including 59% of Church of Scotland members and 60% of Catholics.