A Church of Scotland minister who made history by becoming the first to officially open a Pride event, has taken the opportunity to apologise to members of the LGBT community.
Rev Scott Burton who opened the inaugural Perthshire Pride event in Perth on Saturday, apologised to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community on behalf of the Kirk for any “cruelty and injustice” they might have experienced.
Mr Burton, minister of St Matthew’s Church in Perth, who stated he was “very proud”, “elated” and “over the moon” to speak at the event, said: “I want my first words to you today to be ‘I’m so sorry’.”
“If you are LGBT you know that the church that I belong to has hurt you again and again at different times and in different ways, and indeed because of what this LGBT community has suffered over time, quite honestly I am quite honestly amazed that the first person you have called to speak today is a clergy person, this from the Perthshire Pride organising team to me seems to show the most amazing generosity and graciousness.”
He then asked the crowd to give the organisers a round of applause.
Mr Burton then added: “We stand in solidarity with every person here who has been damned and denounced spiritually, psychologically, emotionally and physically by those who try to make out LGBT people are somehow second-class .
“They are not second-class and I, and a growing number of people within the Church, believe that they are the people that God has created them to be.
“Love changes the world for the better and I hope and I pray that Perthshire’s first-ever Pride event is going to be a day of love, not hate.”
Mr Burton said he respected the range of sincerely-held views of other people within the Church and respectful dialogue was the only way forward.
Earlier this year, the Kirk moved a step closer to allowing ministers to conduct same-sex marriages.
Its legal questions committee has been tasked with drafting church law on the issue and reporting back to the General Assembly in 2020.
The Kirk agreed in 2017 to apologise corporately and individually for its past treatment of gay people.