Leader of the opposition Ed Miliband has backed the Scottish Equal Marriage campaign to lift the bans on gay marriage and straight civil partnership.

Labour’s leader signed the pledge and so joined the leaders of all the Scottish political parties in backing the move.

The Scottish government’s consultation on gay marriage closed in December with 70,000 responses which will now be analysed.

Tom French, Policy Coordinator for the Equality Network, said: “We are delighted that the Leader of the Opposition has joined politicians from across the political spectrum to unite for Equal Marriage. We know that a majority of the public back full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and we now hope that legislation will be brought forward to make equal marriage a reality in modern Britain.”

Rt. Hon. Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, said: “The introduction of civil partnerships was one of the most significant changes introduced by Labour. Those equalities now have overwhelming public support and are being copied by many countries around the world. I strongly agree that gay and lesbian couples should have an equal right to marry and deserve the same recognition from the state and society as anyone else.”

Opinion polls suggest a majority of people support equal marriage, including the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2010 which indicated 61% support versus 19% opposition.

This included a majority of respondents following all the major faiths and political parties – including 57% of Catholics.

The leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O’Brien has been rounded on for his comments about the introduction of equal marriage rights for gays, which he called “grotesque” and likened to the reintroduction of slavery at the weekend.