A row erupts after the leader of the catholic church in Scotland was crowned “bigot of the year” by the gay rights charity Stonewall.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien was named in the controversial category at Stonewall’s annual award ceremony in London for his stance on same-sex marriage.
But the “bigot” category was criticised by the woman picking up the award for politician of the year.
The Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson was awarded the title in recognition of becoming the first openly gay leader of a major UK political party.
Speaking at the award ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, she was booed for criticising Stonewall over its bigot category, saying it was “simply wrong” to use such terminology.
The row emerged after both Barlclays and Coutts threatened to withdraw their funding of Stonewall’s annual awards dinner next year, if the gay rights group does not withdraw its controversial “bigot of the year” award.
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. Ruth Davidson, Stonewall’s politician of the year
Stonewall said that 10,000 Stonewall supporters voted for the cardinal to win the award, because he went “well beyond what any normal person would call a decent level of public discourse” over the last year during a heated debate over plans to introduce gay marriage in Scotland.
Ms Davidson, who attended the ceremony presented by broadcaster Gok Wan, said: “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.”
The Catholic Church criticised the charity’s award, saying it revealed “the depth of their intolerance” and a willingness to demean people who do not share their views.
The cardinal previously said that the same-sex marriage proposal in Scotland was a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right” and called off talks with the Scottish government over same-sex marriage earlier this year.
However not all religious figures objected to the bigot award. The former canon at St Paul’s Cathedral, Reverend Giles Fraser, who received the hero of the year award, congratulated Stonewall for standing up to bigotry.
“I’m ashamed that I share the same profession as so many of the people that were nominated and received the bigot of the year award,” he said while collecting his gong.