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Kate Forbes pushes ahead with SNP leadership campaign despite criticism of Christian belief

by Heather Preston

Kate Forbes has said she is still running to be Scotland's next first minister "at the moment", despite being under fire over her religious beliefs.

The SNP leadership contender lost support from some of her most senior backers after saying she wouldn't have voted to bring in same sex unions.

Three Scottish government ministers have now said they would withdraw their backing.

The current Scottish Finance Secretary is one of three candidates currently standing to replace Nicola Sturgeon as both First Minister and SNP leader.

Ian Blackford is the former leader of the SNP in Westminster, he tells Premier as a Christian politician, you need to be very careful about mixing religious views and politics.

"For me, my faith is important - it shapes who you are. But we are always facing this question, 'how do you align your faith to the responsibility you have as an elected politician to represent all of your constituents'."

While Blackford doesn't agree with Forbes' stance on same sex marriage he says its important politicians are up front about their views.

"All of us need to have honesty, faith, trust and integrity in politics and if there are things you believe then you have to be able to stand up and say that."

Forbes, the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP apologised for any "pain" her comments have caused and said she would not seek to overturn gay marriage laws if she were to succeed Nicola Sturgeon.

She also said that having children outside of marriage "would be wrong" according to her faith and is something she would personally "seek to avoid".

Forbes has also said she does not support the controversial Gender Reform Bill which would make it easier for people aged 16 and 17 to change gender.

Former Lib Dem leader, Tim Farron has commended Forbes' courage to stand by her views on scripture, despite opposition.

He tells Premier: "It may well be that Kate powers through all this and she may well end up being leader of the SNP and Scotland's next first minister. Or she may not.

"It may be that her faithfulness to what the Bible teaches is what finishes her, in which case, that's a victory."

"Being a Christian is to be counter cultural in every culture. So if we are not rubbing up against it somehow then there is something wrong.

“The real question is - are we a liberal society that will only accept people if our faith is just a cultural thing.”

Speaking to the BBC, Forbes defended her religious views saying: "My position on these matters is I will defend to the hilt everybody's right in a pluralistic and tolerant society to live and to love free of harassment and fear.

"And in the same way I hope that others can be afforded the rights of people of faith to practice fairly mainstream teaching. And that is the nuance that we need to capture on equal marriage.

"Equal marriages is a legal right, and as a servant of democracy, rather than a dictator, I absolutely respect and defend that democratic right."


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