SNP lead candidate Kate Forbes said she would have voted against gay marriage in Scotland at the time it was made legal almost a decade ago.
The finance secretary, one of the two frontrunners to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland, said in an interview that she would not have backed the legislation, but would have “respected and defended the democratic choice that was made”.
Equal marriage was made legal in Scotland in 2014 with an overwhelming majority of 105 votes to 18, while Ms Forbes was not elected to Holyrood until the 2016 election.
Talking to The Scotsman, Ms Forbes, who has been on maternity leave and away from frontline politics since early summer last year, said she would not have supported equal marriage as a “matter of conscience” if she had been a member of parliament at the time.
She cited the example of Angela Merkel as a leader who voted on the matter “with her conscience”, adding: “I think for me, Angela Merkel is the example I would follow, I would have voted, as a matter of conscience, along the lines of mainstream teaching in most major religions that marriage is between a man and a woman.
“But I would have respected and defended the democratic choice that was made.
“It is a legal right now and I am a servant of democracy, I am not a dictator.”
After giving her views on gay marriage, the Scottish Health Secretary and SNP leadership candidate Humza Yousaf said in an interview that he would not legislate on the basis of his faith.
Speaking on Tonight with Andrew Marr on LBC on Monday, Mr Yousaf said: “I’m a supporter of equal marriage.
“Let me get to the crux of the issue that you’re asking me. I’m a Muslim. I’m somebody who’s proud of my faith. I’ll be fasting during Ramadan in a few weeks’ time.
“But what I don’t do is, I don’t use my faith as a basis of legislation. What I do as a representative, as a leader, as a Member of the Scottish Parliament is my job is to bring forward policy and pursue it in the best interest of the country.”
Related: ‘It’s simple biology’: Lee Anderson says he’d choose heating over eating