Scottish Tories leader Douglas Ross called out for ‘homophobic dog-whistle’ after SNP-Green deal

Douglas Ross raises his finger

Scottish Conservative Party leader Douglas Ross has faced fierce criticism for using a “homophobic dog-whistle” when he called out the Scottish National Party-Green deal.

On Friday (20 August), first minister Nicola Sturgeon’s minority government secured a delayed power-sharing deal with the Greens, lifting the Greens into power for the first time in Britain.

In a draft cooperation agreement, which stops short of a formal coalition, the parties pledged to a raft of progressive policies ranging from sprawling infrastructure overhauls to reforming the Gender Recognition Act within the first year of Parliament and banning conversion therapy.

As the agreement awaits confirmation from Green party members, Ross dealt a swift broadside against it, calling the pact a “nationalist coalition of chaos” on Twitter.

“The SNP-Green government will be anti-jobs, anti-business, anti-families, anti-drivers, anti-oil and gas,” he said.

“Nicola Sturgeon failed to win a majority, so she needs a hand to ramp up the division and push for indyref2.”

Douglas Ross ripped for using ‘bigoted trope’ in SNP-Green potshot

The “anti-family” label has long been used to decry pro-LGBT+ legislation, touting laws that help the queer community as somehow contrary to so-called “traditional” families.

According to his voting record, the Moray MSP voted against marriage equality in Northern Ireland. If he had been an elected lawmaker in 2014, he would have voted against marriage equality in Scotland, too, an unearthed interview showed.

Backlash quickly roared against Ross’ use of the phrase from fellow lawmakers, pundits and people alike.

“Anti-families?” questioned SNP MSP Karen Adam, who grew up in a same-sex household. “What on earth does that even mean?

British prime minister Boris Johnson (L) and Douglas Ross. (Daniel Leal-Olivas – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

“Please break that down for everyone so we know exactly what you are meaning. Does it mean any family that doesn’t fit a narrative you feel fits your opinion?

“Are you saying I haven’t had a real family? My family isn’t a real one?”

“Watch in real-time as the Scottish Conservative Party descends into Section 28-era rhetoric two years after it was led by an out gay woman,” tweeted Duncan Hothersall, a gay political commentator.

“‘Anti-families’ is as loud and shameful a dog whistle to homophobes and transphobes as any we have seen in mainstream Scottish politics since the early 2000s.”

Countless Twitter users laced into Ross, egging on the 38-year-old to elaborate on what he meant exactly by “anti-families”.

In a statement to PinkNews, a spokesperson for the Scottish Tories said: “It is 100 per cent wrong to suggest this comment was about LGBT+ families. Nothing whatsoever in this tweet is critical of LGBT+ people. 

“This comment was solely about the SNP-Green coalition hammering hardworking families, as we have said repeatedly since news of a nationalist deal broke.

“By ‘anti-families’, we mean exactly that – the SNP-Green Government will be harmful to families of all kinds across Scotland, regardless of the sex, gender or background of those families.”

PinkNews contacted Douglas Ross for comment.