Scottish MPs complain over invitation to anti-gay speaker

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

Two MSPs have complained over an speaking invitation given to the president of the Mormon-owned US university.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie, who is gay, and Independent MSP Margo MacDonald said Cecil Samuelson, president of Brigham Young University, should not have been invited to address Holyrood.

Mr Samuelson’s university is owned and run by Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Students are banned from having gay relationships and the university’s website says homosexuality is “inappropriate”.

In his address, Mr Samuelson thanked ministers for allowing some of his students to work as interns for them and said his institution welcomed students from a huge range of diverse backgrounds.

However, he would not answer a question posed by the Scotsman on whether gay students were permitted.

He was invited to speak at Holyrood’s ‘time for reflection’ by parliamentary business minister Brian Adams, himself a Mormon.

Mr Harvie and Ms MacDonald raised a point of order after Mr Samuelson finished speaking, questioning why he had been invited.

According to BBC News, Mr Harvie said: “We’ve heard today in our time for reflection slot from a speaker who represents an academic institution with a despicable track record of homophobic discrimination.

“This is an institution which is willing to ruin the life chances of young people and to force them to live in fear, simply on the grounds of their sexuality.”

Holyrood presiding officer Tricia Marwick dismissed the complaints and called for speakers to be treated with courtesy.