Kate Forbes, a rising star within the Scottish National Party (SNP), has confirmed that she is pushing ahead with her leadership campaign, despite going through criticism over her Christian beliefs.
Forbes, who is currently the Scottish Finance Secretary, has been widely tipped as a potential successor to Nicola Sturgeon, who announced her intention to step down as SNP leader later this year.
However, Forbes has come under fire from some quarters over her views on homosexuality and same-sex marriage, which have been described as “outdated” and “unacceptable” by LGBTQ+ campaigners. In a recent interview with The Times, Forbes stated that she believed marriage should be between a man and a woman, and that same-sex couples should not be able to adopt children.
These comments have sparked a backlash from some SNP members and supporters, who have accused Forbes of holding discriminatory views. Several high-profile figures within the party, including MP Joanna Cherry and former MSP Marco Biagi, have publicly criticized Forbes and called on her to clarify her position on LGBTQ+ rights.
I repeat- time to call the dogs off Kate & now Ash too. Mennie another MSP’s staffer should be reigned in. @theSNP manifesto did not commit us to a policy of Self ID. The party’s code of conduct is being trashed. It’s unconscionable https://t.co/Adqik4L604
— Joanna Cherry KC (@joannaccherry) February 21, 2023
Despite this criticism, Forbes has remained defiant and has vowed to continue her leadership campaign. In a statement released on Monday, she said: “I am standing to be leader of the SNP because I believe I have the skills, experience and vision to take our country forward. I am proud of my Christian faith, but I also believe in equality for all, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Forbes went on to say that she would be “happy to engage” with anyone who had concerns about her views on LGBTQ+ rights, and that she was committed to “listening and learning” from people with different perspectives. She also emphasized that her track record as a “progressive and inclusive” politician spoke for itself, and that she had always worked to support marginalized communities and promote social justice.
The former leader of the SNP in Westminster, Ian Blackford, also said to Premium that as a Christian politician, one needs to be careful not to mix religion with politics. He said; “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’.”
The SNP leadership contest is set to take place later this year, with several candidates expected to throw their hats into the ring. Forbes is seen as one of the frontrunners. However, her comments on LGBTQ+ rights have raised questions about her ability to unite the party and appeal to a broad range of voters. Forbes has sought to address these concerns by emphasizing her commitment to the SNP’s core values of social justice and equality. She has also stressed the importance of unity within the party, and has said that she would work to build bridges with those who may have different views or backgrounds.
The debate over Forbes’ leadership campaign is likely to continue in the coming weeks and months, as the SNP gears up for what promises to be a fiercely contested contest.
While her comments on LGBTQ+ rights have undoubtedly raised eyebrows, Forbes remains a popular figure within the party and is widely regarded as a talented and ambitious politician. Whether or not she can win over her critics and secure the SNP leadership remains to be seen.