A former SNP councillor has resigned from the party after 46 years – as she believes the gay marriage row indicates her former colleagues will turn an independent Scotland into a "dictatorship".

Devout Catholic Liz Fordyce believes the party is "breaking the laws of God and man" by legalising homosexual unions.

Mrs Fordyce admitted she became disillusioned with the nationalists after they won a majority at Holyrood in 2011, saying this gave them the opportunity to "act like dictators".

She said she fears religious leaders will be persecuted for refusing to conduct same-sex marriages.

Holyrood officials said they will work to ensure religious leaders will be protected from legal action if they refuse to marry a gay couple.