SNP’s Humza Yousaf: Unacceptable for Scotland to have first minister against same-sex marriage

Humza Yousaf

Scottish National Party leadership candidate Humza Yousaf has said it would be “unacceptable” to have a first minister who was against same-sex marriage, days after declaring his support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Kate Forbes, one of Yousaf’s rival for the position, caused controversy when she admitted she would not have voted in favour of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act had she been an MSP in 2014, stating that she believes marriage is “between a man and a woman”. 

Now, Yousaf has said he does not think it’s right for the head of the Scottish government to disagree with same-sex marriage.

Asked during an interview with the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg whether Forbes’ position was acceptable, he said: “Not if they would roll back on [LGBTQ+] rights. I don’t think that’s acceptable.”

He added: “If they were able to disassociate their view, and not let that interfere with policymaking or legislating, that’s a different matter.

“But if they have already said that they would roll back or vote against those rights, then what would happen, for example, if somebody brought in a member’s bill or a piece of legislation to try to roll back on equal marriage?”

You may like to watch

Yousaf reaffirmed his support for same-sex marriage last week after it came to light that he had missed the vote to legalise it in 2014, which was put down to an “unavoidable” meeting.

“I support equal marriage. I support it then [and I] support it now,” he said.

Humza Yousaf’s view is in contrast to Forbes, who has been criticised by MSPs and members of the LGBTQ+ community for her views on same-sex marriage.

Forbes said she would have voted against the proposed legislation as a “matter of conscience”, but would have respected the outcome. 

The leadership hopeful told Channel 4 News: “I would have voted, as a matter of conscience, along the lines of mainstream teaching in most major religions 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, I am not a dictator.”

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

As PinkNews has previously reported, Forbes also has a troubling record on trans rights, while she has previously said that having children outside marriage is “wrong”, according to her faith.

Despite this, polling by The Big Partnership has found that Forbes is the favoured candidate – ahead of Yousaf and Ash Regan – to take over from Nicola Sturgeon, with the backing of 28 per cent of SNP voters.

She was also defended by UK equalities minister Kemi Badenoch, who told Politico that Forbes has a right to express her views. 

After stressing her own support for same-sex marriage, Badenoch said it was sad that Forbes was being criticised because she believes in “freedom of conscience”.

Badenoch explained: “That’s one of the things that makes this country great. It’d be very easy for her to tell lies, just so that she could win that election. She’s not doing that.

“That’s something people need to take into account.”