A leading gay rights charity has named the head of the Catholic Church in Scotland as its bigot of the year following his outspoken comments on gay marriage.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien was selected by Stonewall after he described the Scottish Government’s proposals for same-sex unions as “madness” and a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”.
The cardinal also claimed that if the government went ahead and legalised gay marriage its “intolerance will shame Scotland in the eyes of the world”.
But the award was criticised from the podium by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson as she collected the Politician of the Year award.
Ms Davidson, who supported the same-sex marriage proposal, urged Stonewall to drop the bigot category.
She said: “I think it's important for young people growing up to see that it doesn't matter your politics, gender or sexuality, there should be no barrier to success.
"This is why I am so supportive of Stonewall's Role Models leadership programme.
"But where I disagree with Stonewall in these awards is the need to call people names like 'bigot'. It is simply wrong.
"The case for equality is far better made by demonstrating the sort of generosity, tolerance and love we would wish to see more of in this world.
"There are many voices in this debate and just as I respectfully express my sincerely held belief that we should extend marriage to same-sex couples, I will also respect those who hold a different view."
Stonewall Scotland director Colin Macfarlane said: "As Britain's first openly gay leader of a mainstream political party, Ruth has shown thousands of young gay Scots that they can aspire to be what they want to be."
He went on to defend the bigot category and said it was “fitting” that Cardinal O’Brien had been chosen for the award.
"We've never called anyone a bigot just because they don't agree with us, but in just the past 12 months the cardinal has gone well beyond what any normal person would call a decent level of public discourse,” he said.
Two banks who have sponsored the awards, Barclays and Coutts, have threatened to withdraw their support if the category is not scrapped next year, following complaints from Christian groups.
More About Cardinal Keith O'Brien
- Cardinal O'Brien resigns after allegations of 'inappropriate behaviour'
- In full: Cardinal Keith O'Brien stands down in wake of allegations
- Cardinal Keith O’Brien: Life and work of a religious leader
- How can the Catholic Church resolve the Cardinal O'Brien affair?
- Bishop of Motherwell felt 'betrayed' by Cardinal's sexual conduct
- Archbishop Tartaglia says Church 'dealt a serious blow' by Cardinal
- Cardinal O'Brien admits 'my sexual conduct has fallen below standards'
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