U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May rejected Scotland's case for holding an independence referendum and accused its leaders of reneging on promises, preparing the ground for delaying a second plebiscite.
Sturgeon said she would continue to seek a compromise with the United Kingdom government, but added: "I will take the steps necessary now to make sure that Scotland will have a choice at the end of this process".
"Nicola Sturgeon has today chosen the path of further division and uncertainty", Ms Ruth Davidson, whose party is the second-largest in the Scottish Parliament, said on Twitter.
'Instead of playing politics with the future of our country, the Scottish Government should focus on delivering good government and public services for the people of Scotland.
All the arguments that Brexiteers are using to say Scotland should stay in the United Kingdom are the ones they dismissed as Project Fear in the EU Referendum, says James O'Brien. Sturgeon has reportedly pursued a deal that would allow Scotland to remain in the E.U but has described May's response to that as a "brick wall of intransigence".
As of Wednesday afternoon, just over 120,000 people had signed the petition, which is nearly 25,000 less than the whole of Dundee, Scotland's fourth largest city.
But Nicola Sturgeon said she wants another independence vote as early as next year.More news: On visit with Steelers, Davon House signs with Packers
Ms Mackay said: "The future of Scotland is now at stake as we face a chaotic departure from the European Union and its single market, under a hardline Tory government in Westminster".
"What we have to do, as we did in 2014 but now in the different circumstances we face, is, before people are asked to make that choice, set out the process by which we secure our relationship with Europe".
May's cabinet has also been caught off-guard by the timing of the vote proposed by Sturgeon.
The European Commission again said on Monday that an independent Scotland would have to formally re-apply to become an EU member state.
Sterling rose after Sturgeon said the earliest date for a new Scottish independence referendum was in the autumn of next year.