Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond has rejected a call to make an early pledge that Scotland will legalise gay marriage.
Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie asked Scottish National Party leader Salmond during First Minister’s Questions whether he would confirm the country would bring in marriage equality.
In reply, Salmond said the matter had to be dealt with ‘sensitively and properly’. He added a consultation was still continuing.
The FM said: ‘Regardless of my views or Willie Rennie's views, he has to understand that this is a matter that excites substantial interest among large sections of the Scottish population.’
Alex Salmond has previously supported LGBT rights, and said he supports gay marriage. Last October he made an It Gets Better video saying ‘We want LGBT people in this country to be more visible and proud of who they are.’
Salmond added: ‘I haven't changed my mind but we're in a consultation process at the present moment.
‘We've received, I think, around 60,000, maybe more, responses to that consultation that's taking some time to analyse.’
He said the results of the consultation, conducted principally from September to December, will be revealed in June.
Rennie said if such progressive world leaders such as US President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron can back gay marriage, he should not be too ‘timid’.
‘Surely if it is good enough for Obama, surely it is good enough for Salmond,’ says Rennie.
Salmond mocked the idea of Conservative David Cameron being a ‘progressive world leader’, and said ‘it really sums up the difficulties of the Liberal Democrats in Scotland.’
It was reported by national newspapers that Cameron is allegedly backing down on gay marriage, although this was later dismissed.
He said: ‘I don't know if Willie actually believes that David Cameron is a progressive world leader, but if he does then it explains the vast overwhelming departure of any semblance of a Liberal Democrat Party.’