Someone who would vote against marriage equality should not be Scotland’s prime minister and could not be trusted to fight subsequent attempts to roll back the rights, said SNP leadership candidate Humza Yousaf.
Her closest rival Kate Forbes caused an outcry last week when she revealed she would not have supported the Scottish government’s marriage equality legislation had she been an MSP at the time, and one of the party’s most prominent LGBT+ politicians said this weekend that the scrutiny of such opinions should not be dismissed as “abuse”.
Pressed by the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday morning about whether it would be acceptable for Scotland’s Prime Minister to be someone who does not agree with marriage equality, Yousaf replied: “Not if they roll back those rights, I don’t think that’s acceptable.”
“If they were able to decouple their view, and not let that interfere with policy making or legislation, then I think that’s a different matter.”
“But if they already said they would roll back or vote against those rights, then what would happen, for example, if someone brought in a member bill or a law to try to roll back marriage equality?”
Yousaf was endorsed on Sunday by prominent MP Mhairi Black after she issued a strongly worded statement describing the “hurt” caused to her personally by the Forbes comments and asking “how am I, and others, supposed to have faith in a leader who openly and publicly believes that the love between my wife and I should not be legally recognized?”
Black cautioned against describing the Forbes response as a “witch hunt”. She said: “Holding candidates accountable and scrutinizing what they themselves have said – on camera, voluntarily, as a bid to be Scotland’s next FM – is not abuse.”
Forbes, a member of the conservative Free Church of Scotland, lost favor with mainstream supporters when he spoke candidly about his faith-based views in a series of interviews to launch his candidacy for leadership. She said she would not defy the UK government’s blockade of gender recognition reform and that her faith was that having children out of wedlock was “wrong” and something she would personally “try to avoid”.
Despite this, the Sunday Times poll shows Forbes leading Yousaf as the favorite successor among SNP voters by a narrow two-point margin. Forbes polled 20%, with Yousaf at 18% and third-party candidate Ash Regan, Regan, a former junior minister who left the government to protest the government’s gender recognition reforms, at 9%.
Only SNP members can vote in the ballot, which ends at noon on 27 March, with the result expected to be declared that day.
On Saturday, the Scottish Association of Mosques intervened in the leadership race in what appeared to be a coded snub for Yousaf, saying it would not support any candidate but adding: “It is refreshing to hear a political leader talk about his religious values and principles. in an open and transparent manner”.
Asked about this intervention by Kuenssberg, Yousaf, who is a practicing Muslim, said: “I do not use my faith as a basis for legislating”, adding that policy makers “have to look at what we think is in the best interest of society as a whole “.
He was also asked about the claim by former minister Alex Neil, who spearheaded marriage equality legislation in 2014 and supports Forbes, that he had lost the final vote on the bill because he was under pressure from Muslim leaders.
Yousaf noted that Neil was “supporting another candidate”, adding “the fact that this issue was dragged out nine years ago and in the midst of a leadership campaign probably shows the motivation behind it”.
He reaffirmed that he had voted for the bill early in the process and that in stage three he had an “inevitable meeting” with the Pakistani government over a Scotsman on death row who was later released.
On Sunday, Forbes gave a series of interviews in which it pledged £800m to tackle the cost of living crisis, warned that transitioning from oil and gas “too quickly will only hurt the Scottish economy” and vowed to put a stop to the UK-led controversy. Scottish greens. deposit return scheme.
She also confirmed to the Scottish Mail on Sunday that she was the author of a blog that described women’s ordination as “a great injustice” and against God’s plan.