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Group steps up gay marriage fight
A campaign group opposed to same-sex marriage has stepped up its protest against the Scottish Government's proposed legislation.
Scotland for Marriage has delivered almost 250,000 leaflets throughout the country, and has activists in 67 of Holyrood's constituencies.
It said more than 36,000 people have now signed its petition, with around 375 names added every week.
The Scottish Government launched a consultation on its draft legislation to legalise same-sex marriage in December.
It is seeking views on the detail of the proposals and the protection provided to religious bodies and celebrants.
The draft Bill was welcomed by MSPs from across the political spectrum, and equality groups involved in long-running campaigns to legalise gay marriage.
But those opposed to the legislation have continued to campaign against the move.
A Scotland for Marriage spokesman said: "The extent of national opposition to redefining marriage is becoming apparent.
"Ordinary men and women do not want to see the destruction of the concept in law of mother and father and changing the time-honoured essence of the family."
The group said major changes to the Government's legislation are required.
The spokesman said: "Alex Salmond promised to protect the civil liberties of traditional marriage supporters, but for that to happen legal protections have to go beyond just churches and marriage celebrants.
"Teachers, parents, school kids, NHS chaplains and others in everyday life must not be penalised for backing traditional marriage.
"We need a number of changes in law before the necessary protections to churches and individuals are met for Mr Salmond to keep his word."
However, a charity at the heart of the equal marriage campaign warned against "scare tactics" by opponents of same-sex marriage.
The Equality Network said the proposed legislation will increase religious freedom by allowing religious groups to choose whether or not to conduct same-sex marriages.
The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill also includes a guarantee protecting free speech and makes no changes that will affect education or employment, the charity said.
Tom French, policy co-ordinator for the Equality Network, said: "Anti-gay campaigners will no doubt spend a lot of money on misinformation and scare tactics, but the large majority of people across Scotland support same-sex marriage.
"This legislation will deliver equality and increase religious freedom, and that is why most MSPs and many religious people support it."