A SENIOR Edinburgh SNP activist is leading calls for former party leader Gordon Wilson to make a public apology for claiming that legislating for gay marriage was “sliding down a road to fascism”.
Toni Giugliano, who is convener of the SNP’s Edinburgh City Association and also a member of the party’s LGBT section, said Mr Wilson’s comments were “offensive”.
Pro-gay marriage campaigners within the SNP are expected to attend a fringe meeting which Mr Wilson is due to address tomorrow, on the opening day of the SNP conference in Perth.
In remarks published at the weekend, ahead of the meeting, Mr Wilson, who led the SNP for 11 years up until 1990, branded the Scottish Government consultation on same-sex marriage “a fraud”.
And he went on: “What is the point of canvassing the views of the electorate and then cynically discarding them?
“If you think we are sliding down a road to state fascism and intolerance, you may not be far wrong.
“So those MSPs who favour the Bill – and those who object – should realise that the real issues are the freedoms of speech and conscience in a democratic society. This legislation will subvert both rights.”
He claimed Nationalist MSPs faced losing their seats over the issue.
Mr Giugliano, who describes himself as a gay Catholic, said: “While Gordon Wilson is perfectly entitled to his views, under no circumstances can such offensive language be tolerated.
“In certain parts of the world gay people are still persecuted and imprisoned for being who they are – that is fascism. In Scotland we’re striving to build a fair, progressive and more equal society.
“Thankfully Gordon Wilson represents a minority view not only in the SNP but across Scotland as a whole. It would be helpful if he toned down his language and apologised.”
The Scottish Government announced in July that it would bring in legislation to allow same sex couples to get married. The government’s consultation on the issue received around 80,000 responses, of which 36 per cent were in favour of same-sex marriage and 64 per cent against. However, if postcards and petitions were taken out of the equation, the result became 65 per cent in favour and 35 per cent against. The SNP’s LGBT group will be relaunched during the conference as Out for Independence.
The fringe meeting which Mr Wilson is due to address has been organised by Scotland for Marriage on the theme “Same-Sex Marriage: A Challenge to Civil Liberties?”