Subscribe to Holyrood updates

Newsletter sign-up


Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine


Subscribe to Holyrood
by Chris Marshall
21 February 2023
MSPs pull their support for Kate Forbes following equal marriage comments

MSPs pull their support for Kate Forbes following equal marriage comments

Kate Forbes’ campaign for the SNP leadership has been dealt a significant blow after a number of MSPs withdrew their endorsement following comments she made on same-sex marriage.

Forbes, who launched her campaign yesterday, said in an interview that she would not have voted for legislation to allow marriage for gay couples had she been an MSP in 2014.

Following her comments, SNP ministers including Richard Lochhead and Tom Arthur said they could not longer support her candidacy to replace Nicola Sturgeon as both leader of the party and first minister.

Lochhead, a minister for Just Transition, said: “I welcomed my colleague Kate Forbes’ decision to join the SNP leadership contest given her talents and felt it would give us a real contest: new ideas and a new approach that we desperately need. However, I agree we can’t have a Party Leader who’d vote against same sex marriage.”



Claire Haughey, minister for children and young people, tweeted: “I absolutely and completely support equal marriage. I am unequivocal on this issue. I cannot continue to support Kate’s leadership campaign.”

Speaking on BBC Radio 4 this morning, Forbes said: “As a question of conscience, I would have voted alongside Christian teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman. But equal marriage is a legal right today. I am a servant of democracy and not a dictator, and I would respect and defend that democratic choice.

“If we are saying, as I think we’re hearing in the public discourse, that high public office is barred to people of faith or only to people with the right kind of faith…then we’re moving into very dangerous days in Scotland given some of the positions that I have outlined are common across all major faiths, including Islam, Christianity and Judaism.”

Holyrood Newsletters

Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe

Read the most recent article written by Chris Marshall - Going Private: How political failure helped create a two-tier health service.

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox


Popular reads
Back to top