SNP: Kate Forbes’ church says same-sex marriage backlash is ‘anti-Christian bigotry’

Kate Forbes during a Scottish Parliament hearing.

The Free Church of Scotland, to which SNP leadership hopeful Kate Forbes belongs, has hit back at backlash against her views on same-sex marriage, accusing critics of ‘bigotry’ and claiming her “ethical convictions” have existed for centuries.

The SNP cabinet secretary for finance and economy was the subject of fierce criticism after she expressed several conservative viewpoints, including that trans women aren’t women and giving birth outside marriage is wrong.

She also revealed that, had she been a member of the Scottish parliament in 2014, her religious beliefs would have led her to vote against approving same-sex marriage.

Forbes stressed, however, that if she becomes first minister, she would not seek to overturn the decision.

Now, the Free Church of Scotland – of which Forbes is a member – has jumped to her defence, saying that the criticism equals “anti-Christian intolerance”.

A spokesperson for the Church reportedly said it shared Forbes’ view of marriage as an institution strictly between a man and a woman.

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“These ethical convictions have been held for centuries by Christians and other religions. There is nothing new or strange about them,” the spokesperson said.

“Kate Forbes is standing on the basis of her policies.

“The fact that she is being criticised for her Christian convictions shows a level of bigotry that has no place in a pluralistic and diverse society.”

The evangelical Calvinist denomination, which was established in 1843, teaches that same-sex marriage is inherently sinful.

It also opposes banning conversion therapy – which can include a form of psychological torture used in a vain effort to change an LGBTQ+ person’s sexuality.

Kate Forbes believes LGBTQ+ people and anti-trans pundits can ‘co-exist’

Forbes shared her opinions during interviews after standing for leader of the Scottish National Party, as well as her belief that trans women are “biological men”.

She added that her beliefs would not infringe on rights afforded to LGBTQ+ people in Scotland.

Additionally, she claimed anti-trans individuals and transgender people could somehow co-exist and “debate” the trans community’s existence.

“Have we become so illiberal that we cannot have [these] discussions, or some people are beyond the pale?” Forbes asked.

“Because, if some people are beyond the pale, then those are dark and dangerous days for Scotland. I think this campaign will draw that out.”

Since her statements have aired, the SMP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch has lost key backers.

Clare Haughey, the SNP minister for children and young people, wrote that, because she supports equal marriage “absolutely and completely,” she could no longer support Forbes’ leadership ambitions.

Additionally, MSP Tom Arthur wrote: “Equal marriage is among our parliament’s greatest achievements. Consequently, I am unable to continue support for Kate’s campaign.”

Another minister, Richard Lochhead, also withdrew his support, as have Gillian Martin and Drew Hendry.

Humza Yousaf and Ash Regan have also declared their candidacy to lead the SNP.

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