Support for same-sex marriage in Scotland at all time high

Besi Besemar December 23, 2014

Scottish Social Attitudes SurveyNewly released Scottish Social Attitudes survey results reveal a record 68% support for same-sex marriage, while opposition at 17% is record low – a four to one majority.

ON THE day that Scotland’s historic equal marriage legislation came into effect, Wednesday, December 17, a new study by ScotCen Social Research reveals that public support for same-sex marriage in Scotland is at a record high and opposition at a record low.

The 2014 Scottish Social Attitudes survey has revealed that 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, Scotland’s national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) equality charity, who led the Equal Marriage campaign in Scotland, have welcomed the results of the survey.

Tom French
Tom French


Tom French, Policy and Public Affairs Coordinator for the Equality Network, said: “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
Rachel Ormston

Rachel Ormston, Co-Director of Social Attitudes at ScotCen Social Research, added: “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.”

The results are in line with previous opinion polls in Scotland undertaken by every major pollster. A poll conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the Equality Network in June 2012 showed 64% of Scots were in favour of same-sex marriage and 26% opposed. Separate polls conducted over the past four years by Populus, YouGov, and Angus Reid have all shown similar levels of support.

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 shows 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.

In addition to strong public support same-sex marriage also received overwhelming support in the Scottish Parliament with 105 MSPs voting in favour of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 and just 18 voting against, the third strongest majority to date for any same-sex marriage legislation in the world.