Scottish Government Force Gay Marriage by 2015

With recent statements, the Scottish government is set to become the first country to legalize gay marriage despite a record number or respondents in opposition to such a measure.

Scottish officials confirmed they would put forth a bill on the issue, insisting the earliest ceremonies could be conducted in the beginning of 2015.

While gay advocacy groups applaud the decision, local leaders such as well as the Catholic Church and Church of Scotland have continued to denounce the government's plans.

"The Scottish government is embarking on a dangerous social experiment on a massive scale … We strongly suspect that time will show the Church to have been completely correct in explaining that same-sex sexual relationships are detrimental to any love expressed within profound friendships," a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland, said.

The announcement was made in the wake of a government consultation which produced a record 77,508 responses with more than two-thirds of those responses against the measure, according to the BBC.

"We are committed to a Scotland that is fair and equal and that is why we intend to proceed with plans to allow same-sex marriage and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships - we believe that this is the right thing to do," Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's deputy first minister, said in a statement.

Currently, same-sex couples in Scotland have the option for civil partnerships while the Scottish government continues to assure faith leaders that the religious community would not be forced to hold same-sex ceremonies in churches.

"We are acutely aware that opinions differ among our own members and that many people are anxious and hurt in the current situation," Rev. Alan Hamilton, of the Church of Scotland, told the BBC.

"We are concerned the government will legislate without being able to effectively protect religious bodies or their ministers whose beliefs prevent them from celebrating civil-partnerships or same-sex marriages," he added.

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