FAITH group campaigners have vowed to step up their efforts to block gay marriage after the Scottish Government confirmed it would bring forward same-sex legislation before July.

The Scotland for Marriage group, a coalition of Catholics, Muslims and evangelical Christians, will target more than 50 MSPs in constituencies across Scotland where opposition to gay marriage is considered strongest.

The campaign, which is building a network of local branches, aims to deliver thousands of leaflets calling on people to lobby their MSP.

Campaign chiefs promised to step up the pressure as the Scottish Government confirmed a Bill paving the way to allow same-sex couples to marry would go before parliament before the summer recess at the start of July.

The news was welcomed by pro same-sex marriage campaigners and politicians from all major parties.

But a Scotland For Marriage spokesman said: "People who think the same-sex marriage debate is over are misguided.

"The politicians of Holyrood are a million miles away from public opinion on this issue and are wasting huge amounts of taxpayers' money pursuing matters like same-sex marriage when the country's economic and employment problems should be the focal point to the exclusion of almost everything else.

"Scotland For Marriage has more supporters than the combined memberships of the mainstream political parties all added together."

Health Minister Alex Neil, who is responsible for the Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill, yesterday told MSPs the legislation would be passed "sooner rather than later".

He was quizzed at Holyrood following growing concern the Government was stalling in a bid to avoid controversy in the run-up to the independence referendum.

The UK Government's plans to legalise gay marriage – announced after the Scottish Government pledged to change the law – cleared the House of Commons last week, prompting fears Scotland would be left behind.

Mr Neil repeated the Scottish Government's promise no religious celebrant would be forced to conduct same-sex marriages if they disagreed with them.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said marriage equality was the "natural next step in our efforts to build a fairer society".

He said: "With the UK government already close to delivering equality in marriage for gay couples in England and Wales, it is right that the Scottish Government plans to introduce a bill within the month."

Pro-same sex marriage Equality Network spokesman Tom French welcomed news of the schedule.