Kate Forbes would not be able to "serve all of Scotland," one of Humza Yousaf's key supporters has claimed. 

Neil Gray said the Finance Secretary's views "don’t chime with the majority of people
in both the party and the country."

The comments came after Ms Forbes attempted to move on from the row over her positions on same-sex marriage, transgender issues, and children born to unmarried parents. 

READ MORE: Kate Forbes 'heartsore' over 'hurt' caused by comments

In a Twitter thread - published as First Minister's Questions got underway on Thursday- the SNP leadership hopeful said she had "listened carefully" to the criticism and was "heartsore" at the hurt caused. 

However, in a press release issued by the Yousaf campaign, Mr Gray suggested his Free Church following colleague would not protect the rights of minorities.

The Herald:

: "Kate is firmly entitled to her views, however, it is clear that Kate has had to recognise that her views don’t chime with the majority of people in both the party and the country.

"But Scotland needs a leader who minorities in our society know will protect and promote their rights at all times.

"It's important that our party picks a leader who can be elected as First Minister to serve all of Scotland and who all voters know will have their back.

"The first days of this campaign have made clear that it is only Humza Yousaf who can unify our party, protect the independence majority in Parliament and build support for independence across all parts of our society."

READ MORE: Gender legal action and Indyref prospectus on hold until new FM

Ms Forbes was not a member of the Scottish Parliament when the equal law marriage was passed in early 2014 but in a series of interviews said that she would have voted no if she had been.

In another interview she said having children outside of marriage “would be wrong according to my faith.”

She also said she did not support self-identification for trans people.

The comments - particularly those on same-sex marriage - led to a number of her backers quitting the campaign, including employment minister Richard Lochhead, public finance minister Tom Arthur, and children’s minister Clare Haughey.

Taking to Twitter to address the criticism, she said: "This election is about independence, who is best equipped, and who has the best plan to achieve it. It is also about the society we want Scotland to be – where tolerance is the ruling ethic,  poverty becomes history, equality of opportunity is the birthright of every child.

"Over the last few days, questions have focused on my faith. I feel greatly burdened and heartsore that some of my responses to direct questions in the media have caused hurt to friends, colleagues and fellow citizens. That was never my intention, but I've listened carefully.

"I will protect the rights of everybody in Scotland, particularly minorities, to live and to love without fear or harassment in a pluralistic and tolerant society. I will uphold the laws that have been hard won, as a servant of democracy. 

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf rejects claim he is 'going to fail upwards' if he becomes FM

"I will also seek to enhance the rights of everybody to live in a way which enables them to flourish. I firmly believe in the inherent dignity of each human being; that underpins all ethical and political decisions I make.

"I've represented my constituents for six years. In full knowledge of my faith, voters re-elected me with one of the biggest majorities in Scotland in 2021.

"That demonstrates that voters were comfortable knowing that I would serve them faithfully and without prejudice."

In a further statement on Facebook, Ms Forbes said it was "possible to be a person of faith and to defend others’ rights to have no faith or a different faith."