THE chief executive of the Humanist Society Scotland (HSS) has resigned after making hostile remarks about a same-sex wedding attended by the First Minister.

Douglas McLellan quit his high-profile post after suggesting the "rival" gay marriage on ­Hogmanay had upstaged a separate event endorsed by the society.

The HSS promotes a secular ­Scotland and provides celebrants to conduct wedding ceremonies for mixed- and same-sex couples.

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After gay marriage was legalised by the Scottish Parliament, the HSS unveiled Malx Brown and Joe ­Schofield from Clackmannanshire as the "first" same-sex couple who would tie the knot on Hogmanay.

However, Gerrie and Susan ­Douglas-Scott, HSS members from Glasgow, had also planned their wedding for the same day, and both Nicola Sturgeon and Green MSP Patrick Harvie agreed to attend.

In a curt email to ­humanist ­celebrants late last year, McLellan wrote: "We would hope that no colleague would seek to rival the ­society's official position." Referring to Ross Wright, the­ humanist conducting the Brown-­Schofield wedding, he added: "The society will take a very dim view of any situation that could be detrimental to the ­ceremony being officiated by Ross."

McLellan was also reported saying: "We knew that they [Susan and Gerrie] wished to have a ceremony on December 31 as would other couples. We did not think that there would be a potentially rival event stemming from inside the society.

"We understand that Patrick [Harvie] is a family friend and it appears that Susan and Gerrie were very quickly off the mark by inviting others to their event. We then reached out to politicians only to find that they had been booked elsewhere."

On December 23, days after ­McLellan's remarks were reported in the press, HSS chairman Ian Scott extended "personal apologies" to "anyone who may have felt let down over the past week".

He also apologised to Sturgeon and Harvie, but not to the Scotts, adding: "Clearly the society and its representatives must do better to communicate, maintaining a diplomatic tone at all times, but especially in those times of some difficulty or disagreement. It is my intention to ensure that this is the case going forward."

HSS last week announced the chief executive's resignation, saying: "The members of the board would like to thank Douglas for his hard work and dedication during his time in office."