Organisations from around Scotland formed a coalition this morning to back the proposal to legalise same-sex marriage.

The Equality Network was joined at a conference in Edinburgh by the Scottish Youth Parliament, Amnesty International, UNISON, the Humanist Society of Scotland, LGBT Youth Scotland and NUS Scotland.

Last week, a similar coalition was launched by the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland to oppose equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.

This morning, campaigners from the groups will hand over 18,000 consultation responses to the Scottish Government in support of plans to allow gay couples to marry.

Online consultation responses can still be filed by members of the public until it closes on Friday.

Tom French, Policy Coordinator for the Equality Network, said: “Today we have seen a rainbow coalition of organisations from across Scottish society voice their strong support for equal marriage.

“It is increasingly clear that the vast majority of Scots support same-sex marriage. For most people this is a simple issue of love, equality and fairness. If a same-sex couple love each other and want to get married, then why should they be banned from doing so?

“There can be no excuse for continuing to deny same-sex couples equality under the law. We hope the Scottish Government will listen to what is being said, stand by its values and legislate for equal marriage.”

Shabnum Mustapha, Scotland Director of Amnesty International, said: “Amnesty International fully supports the Equal Marriage campaign. We believe that from a human rights perspective, the Scottish Government’s proposals deliver equal rights for same-sex couples, whilst promoting and extending the right to religious freedom.

“Amnesty has a strong history of standing up for and supporting the rights of the LGBT communities around the world. In too many countries LGBT people still face discrimination and persecution, that ranges from ill-treatment and violence to execution, imprisonment and torture.

“We believe the Scottish Government’s proposals will proudly place Scotland at the forefront of promoting equality and human rights for LGBT people nationally as well as internationally.”

The Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2010 indicated 61% of the population supports the proposal of extending marriage rights to gay couples.

Nathan Sparling, the National Union of Students’ Scotland LGBT Officer, said: “It’s events like this which show the broad support that exists for same-sex marriages in Scotland today.

“The support shown by students, young people, religious groups and the public to give a basic right to those who wish to marry the person they love has been overwhelming.

“The community has come together to say yes, and I hope the Scottish Government maintains its position, so we’ll see true equality in Scotland in the near future.”