Following yesterday’s announcement by the Scottish government that it will legislate to recognise marriages between two people of the same sex, equality campaigners are planning a giant ‘thank you’ card.

The Equality Network, which has campaigned in favour of marriage equality for gay and straight couples in Scotland, now wants to collect as many messages of thanks as possible to deliver to Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Yesterday, Ms Sturgeon announced the government would bring forward legislation allowing gay weddings to take place in civil and religious ceremonies, only where faiths and individual celebrants wish to perform them.

Tom French, Policy Coordinator for the Equality Network, said it had been a “proud day” for Scotland.

He said: “With cross-party support for equality in the Scottish Parliament we would expect that this change can be passed next year.”

“Same-sex marriage is about equality and freedom. The freedom for couples, and religious and humanist groups that want to, to celebrate same-sex marriages. But equally, upholding the freedom of other religious groups to say no to same-sex marriages. That’s the right way for Scotland to deal with the different opinions on this.”

“We welcome that religious and humanist groups that want to conduct same-sex marriages will be able to do so. We have no problem with a small amendment to the Equality Act to ensure that religious celebrants who disagree don’t have to conduct same-sex marriages. We fully expect the UK Government to cooperate to ensure that. We have always said that religious bodies and celebrants who do not want to conduct same-sex marriage should be free to opt out.”

“In the Scottish Government’s consultation, two thirds of the proper consultation responses from Scotland were in favour of same-sex marriage. Consultation is not a numbers game though, and it’s not about petitions and postcards. The Scottish Government were right to take the time to carefully consider the all the points raised by consultation responses.”

Hundreds of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and equal marriage supporters from across Scotland and around the world have already left messages for the deputy first minister on the Equality Network website.

The messages are displayed on an online pin-board, to be delivered in the next fortnight.

People who have left notes so far have said the move signals an end to discrimination, that it will “strengthen marriage”, that they have “never felt more proud to be Scottish”, and that a “fair and equal Scotland is where I want to live”.