An openly gay minister in the Church of Scotland has backed calls for marriage equality.

The Rev Scott Rennie, whose 2009 appointment threatened to split the church, said the change should be “celebrated”.

The Scottish government is holding a consultation on opening up marriage to gay couples.

Rev Rennie told the Herald: “Marriage like most institutions has been changing.

“In my own religious tradition the theme is one of covenant and love and support.

“The sharing of these things should be greeted and celebrated.”

The minister also spoke about his own experiences as a gay clergy member.

He said: “There is a huge climate of fear still in the churches about sexuality, about the freedom to be honest.

“I certainly didn’t feel able to talk to anyone within the ministry, which is very sad and not a terribly great thing.

“You can’t underestimate how difficult it is to be open and honest. A lot of people just don’t feel safe and that’s a terrible, terrible indictment.

“In 100 years’ time, I would venture a guess that it won’t be such a big issue.”

Rev Rennie was previously married to a woman but now lives with his same-sex partner.

His congregation at Queens Cross Church, Edinburgh, voted overwhelmingly for him to become their next minister but controversy over his appointment led to deep divisions in the church.