SNP faces questions over candidate who attacked ‘promotion’ of homosexuality
The Scottish National Party has defended selecting a candidate who rallied against gay adoption, same-sex marriage and the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality.
The party selected Sophia Coyle as a candidate for next year’s Holyrood elections – appearing on the regional list for Central Scotland.
However, equality activists have noted previous comments that Ms Coyle made in a church interview while standing as a candidate in 2010.
In the interview, the candidate said she did not agree with “homosexual partners being given the right to foster and adopt”, believed marriage exists between a man and a woman, and was “concerned about the promotion of homosexuality in schools”.
The candidate also said that she would have defied the SNP whip to oppose gay rights reforms, had she been an MSP previously.
Tim Hopkins, director of the Equality Network, told Herald Scotland: “Scotland can be proud of its record on improving LGBTI equality, but if we followed the policies attributed in the blog to Ms Coyle, that would take us straight from the top, to close to the bottom of the league in western Europe for equality and respect for LGBTI people.”
The Scottish Greens said: “While it’s for the SNP to judge the calibre of its candidates, it’s disappointing that they’ve selected someone who would restrict the rights of citizens of certain genders and sexual orientations.”
An SNP spokesperson said: “Sophia Coyle held this meeting five years ago and like the majority of people in Scotland, is entirely comfortable with marriage equality.”
The party, which strongly backs LGBTI rights, has previously defended taking large donations from anti-gay marriage Stagecoach boss Brian Souter – who previously funded a campaign to keep Section 28.
The SNP donor gave £1 million to fund the ‘Keep the Clause’ campaign in 2000, to argue against the repeal of Section 28 – which banned the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in schools.
He has also warned on other occasions that society would “implode” if “traditional marriage” were to fail.
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