Kirk minister to become first to officially open a Pride event

Reverend Scott Burton of St Matthew's Church of Scotland, Perth

A Church of Scotland minister is to make history as he becomes the first to officially open a Pride event.

Rev Scott Burton will open the inaugural Perthshire Pride event in Perth on Saturday.

He will apologise 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, said: “I am absolutely over the moon to be invited to open this fabulous occasion, it is an incredible honour.

“I will be taking the opportunity to apologise to members of the LGBT community if they have felt hurt, insulted and ostracised from the Church of Scotland.

“Forgive us for all the pain we have caused you and which we continue to inflict on you.”

Mr Burton, who is married and has two daughters, 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.