Perthshire Pride: Church of Scotland minister apologises to LGBT community for ‘cruelty and injustice’

A Church of Scotland minister has apologised for “cruelty and injustice” against the LGBT+ community at the opening of Perth’s first ever Pride event today.

Reverend Scott Burton opened the event today, and addressed the legacy of the Church of Scotland’s views on LGBT+ people in the past.

He kicked off a day of celebration and colour in the Scottish city, which will include dance acts, drag performers and an afterparty.

Speaking ahead of the event, Rev Burton of St Matthew’s Church said it was an “incredible honour” to be asked to play a role in the city’s Pride event.

“I will be taking the opportunity to apologise to members of the LGBT community if they have felt hurt, insulted and ostracised from the Church of Scotland.

“Forgive us for all the pain we have caused you and which we continue to inflict on you,” he added.

He went on to say that the Church of Scotland stands with anybody who has been damned and denounced by those who see LGBT+ people as second class citizens.

He will also tell LGBT+ people that they are welcome in his church.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 19: Participants hold a sign that says "Love is Love" during the Glasgow Pride march on August 19, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland. The largest festival of LGBTI celebration in Scotland has been held every year in Glasgow since 1996. (Photo by Robert Perry/Getty Images)

Robert Perry/Getty

The Church of Scotland has made moves in recent years to change its views on LGBT+ people. In May, the Church voted to draft new laws that would allow ministers to conduct marriages for gay and lesbian couples.

The motion was passed by 345 to 170 at their general assembly.

In June of last year, the Scottish Episcopal church became the first branch of the Anglican faith in the UK to allow same-sex marriage.

Last year, the Church of Scotland voted overwhelmingly to apologise for its historic treatment of gay people and to make moves towards allowing same-sex marriage in their church.

At the time, Scott Rennie, a minister with the Church who is also openly gay, said it was “one of the most positive and hopeful things I have read in a report to the General Assembly in many years.”

Reverend Rennie had repeatedly urged the Church to reconsider its opposition to same-sex marriage.

The Church of Scotland also voted to allow ministers to be in same-sex unions in 2016.