Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond has spoken out about why he supports equal marriage in a video recorded as part of the Equality Network’s It’s Time campaign.

Speaking from his Holyrood office, the Scottish National Party (SNP) leader said: “My conscience tells me that allowing people to express their love and affection through marriage – and that should be regardless of sexuality – is the right thing to do and it’ll be good for the country.”

He added: “I think it sends a message to other countries about the sort of society Scotland is and I think it also tells us a bit about ourselves.”

At the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections the SNP secured an unprecedented majority, and quickly fulfilled their manifesto pledge to consult on legalising same-sex marriage in Scotland.

The draft Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill was launched in 2012, and the final version is now being considered by the Scottish Parliament, with a Stage One vote expected in the Autumn.

Fifty SNP MSPs have signed the Equality Network’s Equal Marriage Pledge, including Mr Salmond and all Scottish Government Cabinet Secretaries. Thirteen have yet to declare their position, while two have said they will vote against.

Speaking about the controversy caused by the legislation, Mr Salmond said: After a few years – if this legislation passes – it will be seen as unremarkable in Scotland that this happened, and people will look back and won’t remember a time when it didn’t happen.”

“I think whatever their views on this matter, people will feel better if they believe that the country respects the rights of each individual on an equal basis.”

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, Breakfast TV star Lorraine Kellythe leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, Hollywood actor Alan Cumming, and former Scottish Socialist Party MSP Colin Fox and Scottish Green Party Co-Convenor Patrick Harvie have all recorded videos for the Equality Network’s It’s Time campaign.

The campaign is modelled on PinkNews’ Out4Marriage campaign.

Writing exclusively for PinkNews last month UK Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I am proud that we have made same-sex marriage happen [in England and Wales]. I am delighted that the love two people have for each other – and the commitment they want to make – can now be recognised as equal. I have backed this reform because I believe in commitment, responsibility and family. I don’t want to see people’s love divided by law.”