SCOTLAND: According to SNP leadership candidate Humza Yousaf, someone who would vote against equal marriage should not serve as Scotland’s first minister and cannot be relied upon to battle subsequent efforts to roll back rights.
The revelation by his closest rival, Kate Forbes, that if she had been an MSP at the time of the Scotland government’s passage of the equal marriage law, she would not have supported it, caused a stir last week. This weekend, one of the party’s most well-known LGBTQ+ politicians said that examination of such views should not be dismissed as “abuse.”
Yousaf has previously been questioned about Forbes’ opinions, but on Sunday he took a more rigid stance. When asked whether it would be acceptable for the first minister of Scotland to disagree with equal marriage by a media reporter, he responded, “Not if they would roll back on those rights, I don’t think that’s acceptable.”
Yousaf received the support of well-known MP Mhairi Black on Sunday after she released a vehement statement outlining the “hurt” caused to her personally by Forbes comments.
When Forbes, a member of the socially conservative Free Church of Scotland, opened up about her religious beliefs in a series of interviews to start her leadership campaign, she lost the support of prominent supporters.
She declared that she would not question the UK government’s opposition to gender recognition reform and that having children outside of marriage was something she would personally “seek to avoid” according to her religious beliefs.
Despite this, a Sunday Times survey reveals that Forbes is preferred over Yousaf by a slim margin of two points among SNP voters. Forbes received 20% of the vote, Yousaf received 18%, and Ash Regan, a former junior minister who resigned from the government in opposition to the government’s gender recognition changes, received 9% of the vote.
The ballot is only open to SNP members, and it ends at noon on March 27. The outcome is anticipated to be announced on that day. The Scottish Association of Mosques announced on Saturday that it would not support any candidate, appearing to be a coded snub to Yousaf in the leadership contest.
He was also asked about the claim made by Forbes’ supporter and former minister Alex Neil, who oversaw the passage of the equal marriage bill in 2014, that he skipped the bill’s final vote because of pressure from Muslim leaders.
In a series of interviews on Sunday, Forbes pledged £800 million to address the cost-of-living crisis, cautioned that phasing out oil and gas “too fast will only damage the Scottish economy,” and vowed to halt the contentious deposit return program spearheaded by the Scottish Greens.
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