SNP leadership hopeful Humza Yousaf declares unequivocal support for same-sex marriage

Humza Yousaf, hugging his parents, during a leadership rally.

Humza Yousaf has reaffirmed his support for same-sex marriage after explaining why he missed a vote to legalise it in 2014.

The SNP leadership hopeful clarified his stance on LGBTQ+ rights after former minister Alex Neil questioned his absence from the vote.

Yousaf is one of three candidates – along with Ash Regan and Kate Forbes – competing to become first minister of Scotland after Nicola Sturgeon resigned.

The trio are expected to attend a 70-minute leadership hustings on STV in the near future.

While Yousaf has routinely expressed his support for LGBTQ+ rights, Neil told BBC Radio Scotland he believed the SNP MSP did not “have the courage” to vote for the bill.

But Yousaf explained that he had an “unavoidable” parliamentary meeting about a death row prisoner in Pakistan at the time.

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“I don’t know why Alex Neil has decided to intervene, but I’ve made my case and I’ve answered many questions on this already,” he said.

“I support equal marriage. I supported it then [and I] support it now.

“I had an unavoidable meeting on a very important topic in relation to a prisoner on death row in Pakistan for blasphemy.”

LGBTQ+ rights have become a hot topic in the SNP contest following comments made by Kate Forbes on same-sex marriage and transgender rights.

In several interviews, Forbes explained that her religious views reject same-sex marriage, as well as childbirth outside of marriage.

She also expressed her opposition to the blockaded Gender Recognition Reform (GRR) bill, despite missing the vote in December 2022, while claiming that trans women are “biological men.”

Commenting on the 2014 same-sex marriage vote, Forbes said she would have voted against the bill, saying that “marriage is between a man and a woman.

“But I would have respected and defended the democratic choice that was made. It is legal right now and I am a servant of democracy.”

Kate Forbes in Scottish Parliament.
Kate Forbes apologised for the ‘hurt’ caused by her views. (Getty)

Forbes later apologised on social media, saying she had “listened carefully” and was “heartsore” at the hurt caused.

In response, a spokesperson for Yousaf’s campaign said: “It is clear that Kate has had to recognise that her views don’t chime with the majority of people.

“But Scotland needs a leader who minorities in our society know will protect and promote their rights at all times.

“The first days of this campaign have made clear that it is only Humza Yousaf who can unify our party, protect the independence majority in Parliament and build support for independence across all parts of our society.”

Senior SNP member Mhairi Black also commented on Forbes’ beliefs, saying she was “incredibly hurt” by the rhetoric.

Black, who is a lesbian, said in a Twitter thread that the SNP leadership candidate’s religious views don’t “justify voting against” same-sex marriage.

“What you practice in your own time, and how you subscribe to live your life, is your business,” she continued.

“But as a lawmaker, if you choose to allow your religion to try and deny me my basic human rights, then you make it my business.”