Updated: 12.37 GMT.

The Equality Network is calling for equal marriage supporters to have their say in the government’s public consultation on extending marriage rights to gay couples before Friday’s deadline.

Respondents do not have to be Scottish to express their opinion on the issue; the group can forward views from other countries in the UK and the world, which will then be looked at separately by the government.

They say the decision taken by the government will have a important effect on how Scotland is perceived abroad, and overseas views should be taken into account.

So far, the group has received around 15,000 messages through their website, but they are keen to boost the volume and diversity of responses in support of equal marriage rights.

Last week, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland attended the launch of a new anti-gay marriage coalition outside the Scottish Parliament, delivering 20,000 postcards signed by people who oppose expanding the definition of marriage to include gay couples.

Tom French, Policy Coordinator for the Equality Network, said: “With just days before the Scottish Government’s equal marriage consultation closes, it is vital that as many people as possible make their voice heard and respond.

“Never before have so many people spoken out on an LGBT equality issue. But we also know that the opponents of equality are running a well-funded campaign and will do everything they can to stop the Scottish Government lifting the ban on same-sex marriage.

“They have already spent tens of thousands on adverts and publicity materials, and claim to have collected 20,000 responses opposing equal marriage.

“We know that the silent majority support equality, so now is the time to speak up.”

Opinion polls suggest a majority of Scots support equal marriage. The Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2010 indicated 61% support versus 19% opposition. This included a majority of respondents following all the major faiths and political parties in Scotland.

Responses can be filed online through the Equality Network’s Equal Marriage campaign website.