SNP members lash out at gay marriage policy

Members of the Scottish National party (SNP) lashed out at plans to legalise gay marriage yesterday, as they gathered for their conference in Perth.

The summit will see Alex Salmond try to marshal the troops ahead of a two-year independence campaign and attempt to overturn party policy on Nato. But one of the first minister's most pressing concerns is the growing anger over gay marriage.

"We are in this thing with equality law being used as a steamroller to flatten those with conscience on behalf of the state," former leader Gordon Wilson reportedly told a packed fringe meeting, to substantial applause.

"We are in danger – take one freedom away, it’s easier to take another one."

He added: “There is not an electoral mandate on this issue so all you are finding is a political elite – those who draw pay from representing us – foisting their liberal views on the people.”

The elder statesman of the nationalist party described homosexuality as a “biological cul-de-sac”, said the public consultation on gay marriage as "a fraud" and argued its implementation would be the first step to “state fascism”.

He also warned gay marriage would cost the separatist party votes at the referendum.

Deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon gave gay marriage the green light earlier this year, in a move which could see the practise become legal north of the border before it comes to England and Wales.