The Scottish government has ruled out a referendum on the proposed introduction of same-sex marriage.
On Monday, Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, urged the Scottish government to hold a public vote on the proposals.
A government spokesman, speaking after a cabinet meeting, said the issue was a matter of conscience, not constitution.
He said a decision on whether to bring forward a bill on same-sex marriage would be made before the end of July.
Members of the cabinet met in Edinburgh to discuss the issue.
After the meeting, the spokesman said: “This is an important issue and it is right that cabinet takes the time to get both the principle and the detail of the decision right.
“During the discussion, recent calls for a referendum on the subject were carefully considered. However, cabinet views this as an issue of conscience not constitution.
“Given that if a bill is brought forward it should in the view of the Scottish government be determined by a free vote, cabinet has concluded that a referendum would not be appropriate.
“Cabinet has now asked a cabinet sub-committee, led by the deputy first minister, to further examine some particular issues of detail before a final decision is reached.
“We remain committed to publishing the consultation responses and our clear decision on the way forward before the end of this month.”
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