ONE of Ruth Davidson’s new MSPs has denounced gay weddings as a “false image of marriage”, the Sunday Herald can reveal.

Evangelical Christian and lay preacher Jeremy Balfour also campaigned against the repeal of anti-gay legislation and against adoption by gay couples before entering Holyrood. His party leader was congratulated by David Cameron and other senior politicians last week after announcing she had proposed to her partner Jennifer Wilson in Paris and planned to marry.

Tweeting a picture of the engagement ring, Davidson said: “Delighted Jen said yes.” A Tory spokesman said “everybody in the party will want to wish Ruth and Jen the very best".

However Balfour, a former lobbyist for the Evangelical Alliance, has rejected same-sex marriage, saying marriage was “God given” and should only be between a man and a woman.

The Lothians list MSP yesterday said he accepted Davidson would be “legally” married, but he still regarded marriage as between a man and a woman, as described in the Bible.

He told the Sunday Herald: “The Bible is for me the book that I take guidance from in how I should live my life. My interpretation of the Bible is that marriage is between a man and a woman. Clearly other people hold different views on that, and clearly other people have different interpretations of that, but my understanding of the Bible is that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Asked whether Davidson, who is also a Christian, would have a true marriage he said: “It is a true marriage in that it is a legal thing that is allowed in Scotland. I recognise that that is what the Scottish Parliament decided in its last term. I hope she and her partner have a fulfilment in that.”

Pressed on whether Davidson would be married in the eyes of God, Balfour said: “Well, that’s a difficult theological question. All I would want to say is that she is legally married.”

Balfour, 49, worked as a lobbyist for the Evangelical Alliance at the outset of devolution, when it fought repeal of Section 28, the notorious Thatcher-era law which ostensibly banned the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in schools, but effectively restricted sex education.

During the 2003 Scottish election, Balfour said same-sex unions, then proposed by the LibDems, would be a “false image of marriage” and urged voters to make it an election issue.

Speaking for the Evangelical Alliance, he said: “This is another Section 28 for the next government - in many ways it is an even more important issue. To have a false image of marriage would be a serious worry. We will be encouraging our members to take this up in the election, writing to the political leaders and putting pressure on the parties.”

Balfour also called allowing gay couples to adopt “political correctness gone mad”.

In 2005, he submitted a scathing letter on behalf of the Evangelical Alliance to the government, saying it was “very unlikely that a child awaiting a family would choose to be placed with a gay couple” and the child’s birth parents “are likely to be opposed to such a placement” and would be “unlikely to come to terms” with it.

Asked about his old views and those of the Alliance, Balfour said: “Those issues are to some extent issues of the past.”

A governor of Fettes College in Edinburgh, Balfour trained as a solicitor but left the profession in 1995 to attend the London Bible College after a calling to be a minister.

He later returned to Edinburgh and became assistant minister at Morningside baptist Church, before becoming the parliamentary officer for the Alliance.

Since 2005 he has been a Tory councillor in Murrayfield.

Born with no left arm and two fingers on a shortened right arm, he is the only disabled MSP in Holyrood.

LGBTI campaigner Tim Hopkins of the Equality Network said: “Jeremy falls into that relatively small minority of MSPs who have a religious belief that means they don’t agree with same sex marriage. But that’s done and dusted. The test for us in this parliament will be the treatment of LGBTI people in schools, homophobic bullying and fair treatment for transgender people.”