Plans for equal marriage have now been referred to a sub committee headed up by Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
A Scottish government spokesperson said a decision was still expected later this month but the cabinet needed more time to “get both the principle and the detail” right.
If legislation is introduced, members of the Scottish parliament are expected to vote through the measure, making Scotland the first part of the UK to allow gay marriage.
It is thought this would put pressure on MPs in Westminster to support the prime minister in his attempts to do the same for England and Wales, despite strong opposition within his own party and from the Church of England.
The cabinet did, however, announce that a referendum will not go ahead and a decision would come by the end of the month. “Cabinet views this as an issue of conscience not constitution.”
“We remain committed to publishing the consultation responses and our clear decision on the way forward before the end of this month,” said an official.
Radio Forth and Radio Clyde political editor Colin Mackay told STV News that he felt that the delay from the government was not a case of weak leadership but was the SNP regime indicating that it will back the proposals.