FORMER SNP leader Gordon Wilson has claimed he was the victim of a “lynch mob” after being thrown off the board of Dundee’s Citizens Advice Bureau because of his stance against gay marriage.
Mr Wilson, who is chairman of the Christian faith group Solas, failed in his bid to be re-elected to the board of the advice organisation for a second term at a stormy annual meeting on Thursday night.
Earlier this month, Mr Wilson called for a referendum on the Scottish Government’s proposals to allow same-sex marriage, warning the move could have “extremely destructive consequences” for Scotland, in a statement submitted in his role as chairman of the Dundee-based faith group.
The 73-year-old, who led the SNP between 1979 and 1990, described the legalisation of same-sex marriages as “an assault on Christian values” and warned that it could lead to “social disintegration” and “sexual confusion”.
Mr Wilson, who attends Dundee Free Church, declared yesterday that the move to oust him from the 12-strong board amounted to “religious discrimination.”
“I knew from the start that it was like a lynch mob, and whatever I said, it was obvious that they were intent on my removal,” he said.
“The fact that the Solas submission was made to the Scottish Government, and had nothing to do with the CAB, meant nothing.
“When I pointed out to the meeting that their statement of equal opportunities also included the rights of those of religious faith, this was disregarded. So, also, was a reference to the £39,000 given last year to Dundee CAB for racial/religious discrimination projects by the Scottish Government.
“They would have difficulty in applying for fresh funding for this project when they were guilty of practising religious discrimination themselves.
“All to no avail, the issue of same sex-marriage appeared to have priority over the work of the bureau. Political correctness was victorious.”
Mr Wilson, who was Dundee East MP from 1974 to 1987, added: “There was a vote and a majority of the members voted against my continuation as a director.
“Dundee CAB have enough problems over future funding without shooting themselves in the foot.”
One board member said Mr Wilson had been “vocal and indeed vitriolic in voicing his opinion over gay marriages in Scotland”.
“I therefore urge Mr Wilson to withdraw his name from the election of the board in the interest of the bureau,” the board added.
In a statement, Mary Kinninmonth, the director of Dundee Citizens Advice Bureau, said: “It’s sad that the tremendous achievements and work of Dundee CAB has been overshadowed by an issue which called into question its commitment to equality of opportunity.
“The board of trustee directors is keen to confirm that it is fully committed to the aims and principles of the Citizens Advice Bureau and equality of opportunity for all.”
Gordon Macdonald, parliamentary officer at CARE for Scotland, the Christian public affairs charity, said last night: “This case raises serious concerns about religious liberty and freedom of speech. Whether one agrees or disagrees with Gordon Wilson, everyone should defend his right to state his view.”
He added: “It calls into question the public funding that the CAB receives from the Scottish Government and Dundee City Council. We would ask for this funding to be withdrawn, especially the money the CAB receives to counter religious discrimination.”