She said: “The recent Scottish Social Attitudes survey found that more than 60 per cent of people in Scotland felt that same-sex couples should have the right to marry, compared to 19 per cent who disagreed.
“In publishing that consultation today, we are setting out our initial view. We tend towards the view that same-sex marriage should be introduced. However, we are aware that for religious reasons, some faith groups and celebrants may not want to solemnise same-sex marriages, and that is why we are making it clear that they should not be obliged to do so.
“Indeed, we recognise that there will be a range of views on the consultation proposals and we want to hear the views from all sections of Scottish society.”