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Majority of Scots support gay marriage

Published:17 June 2011
Fieldwork:7-13 June 2012
Theme:Scotland
Keywords:bisexual, Gay couples, Lesbian, Marriage, Religion, Same-sex marriage, Scotland, transgender
(Click on keywords to find related Research)
The majority of Scots think that same-sex couples should have the right to marry, according to our latest poll for the Equality Network. A majority also think that religious organisations should be able to decide whether to conduct same-sex marriages.

When asked whether they agree or disagree with the statement same-sex couples should have the right to get married, a third of Scots strongly agreed (33%) while just under a third agreed with the statement (31%). Just over a quarter of Scots either disagreed (9%) or strongly disagreed (17%).


There were also considerable differences in opinion across demographic groups. Women were more likely than men to agree with the statement (70% of women agreed compared to 56% of men), while those aged 55 and over were far less likely to agree than younger age groups (44% of those aged 55+ compared with 75% of those aged under 55). Conservative supporters were also less likely than supporters of the other main parties to agree.

Asked whether they agree or disagree with the statement religious organisations should have the right to decide for themselves whether or not to conduct same-sex marriages, over two thirds of Scots agreed (30% strongly agreed and 38% agreed). One in five Scots disagreed (10% disagreed and 11% strongly disagreed). Levels of agreement with this statement were broadly similar across demographic groups and by party support.

The questions were placed on Ipsos MORI’s Scottish Public Opinion Monitor, a quarterly telephone survey conducted among a representative sample of 1,000 adults drawn from the general public across Scotland.

Christopher McLean, Senior Research Executive at Ipsos MORI Scotland said: 

“As the Scottish Government prepares to publish the results of its consultation on same-sex marriage, this latest poll indicates that a clear majority of Scots support same-sex couples having the right to marry. However, it also highlights the considerable gulf in opinion between the generations, with around three quarters of younger people agreeing compared to less than half of those aged 55 and over.”

Download the charts here (PDF)

Technical Details

  • Results are based on a survey of 1,003 respondents conducted by telephone between 7th June and 13th June 2012
  • Data are weighted by age, sex and working status using census data, and tenure using SHS data, and by public-private sector employment by Scottish Government Quarterly Public Sector Series data. 
  • An asterisk (*) indicates a percentage of less than 0.5% but greater than 0. 
  • Where results do not sum to 100, this may be due to multiple responses or computer rounding. 
  • Where the base size is less than 30 the number (N) rather than the percentage of respondents is given.
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Christopher McLean
Christopher McLean

Senior Research Executive

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