Groups supporting gay rights have stepped up their campaign in favour of same-sex marriage to coincide with a Scottish Government consultation launched on the issue.
The National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland has urged supporters to step efforts after mounting pressure from the Catholic Church in Scotland to derail potential legislation.
“We need to respond to the Catholic Church hierarchy’s latest attack on the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] community by stepping up its campaign to get people to respond to the consultation,” Nathan Sparkling, NUS Scotland LGBT Officer told The Journal.
The call follows a pledge by the Church to distribute 100,000 postcards to parishioners throughout Scotland urging them to oppose a move to legalise gay marriage.
Writing in today's Journal, one of the country's most senior Catholics, Bishop of Paisley Philip Tartaglia, who recently held talks with First Minister Alex Salmond on the contentious issue, steps up an attack on the proposals.
"If people of the same sex want to upgrade their partnership, why not call it something like a solemn covenant of life and love," writes Tartaglia.
"Since some religious bodies appear to want to solemnise same sex unions, they could even celebrate it in a religious context, although certainly not in the Catholic Church. "Do what they want, call it what they wish, but don’t call it marriage because it’s not marriage."
The consultation, launched by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, asks the Scottish public to respond to various questions about the potential for legalising same-sex civil marriage and religious marriage. It also asks them to consider the financial implications and transitional arrangements if it were to be legalised.
NUS Scotland LGBT has joined up with the Scottish Youth Parliament, LGBT Youth Scotland and The Equality Network to set up an online response form which they hope will give the consultation the positive responses required to alter existing legislation.
Sparkling added: “They [Catholic Church] have sent out 100,000 protest cards to their parishioners urging them to fill it in, in opposition of same-sex marriage. This is an awful blow to the positive campaign we've been running and it must be counter-acted. There is a real fear that if the Scottish Government receives more negative responses to this consultation they will reverse their position on equalising marriage to all.
“We are urging everyone that believes in equality to fill it out and give the LGBT Scots the right to marry whoever they fall in love with.”