Scotland’s SNP members will next month decide the country’s next first minister after Nicola Sturgeon announced she would be stepping down from the role.
Following her shock resignation as party leader, scrutiny has turned to the three candidates – who have until Friday to secure 100 nominations – vying to replace her.
Scottish finance secretary Kate Forbes has in particular come under sustained fire for her religious beliefs in the last week.
She lost high-profile support after revealing she would not have voted for same sex marriage and later said she believes having children outside of marriage is “wrong”
Here are where Ms Forbes and the other candidates stand on same sex marriage:
Ms Forbes said she would have opposed same sex marriage as “a matter of conscience” if she had been an MSP when it became law in Scotland in 2014.
The finance secretary, who is a member of the Free Church of Scotland, said: “I think for me, Angela Merkel is the example I would follow, I would have voted, as a matter of conscience, along the lines of mainstream teaching in most major religions that marriage is between a man and a woman.
“But I would have respected and defended the democratic choice that was made. It is a legal right now and I am a servant of democracy, I am not a dictator.”
At least four prominent SNP colleagues withdrew their support following her remarks, including children’s minister Clare Haughey and Gillian Martin, Aberdeenshire East MSP.
She then faced further criticism when she later said having children outside of marriage “would be wrong according to my faith” and she would personally “seek to avoid” it.
Mr Yousaf, Scotland’s health minister, has spoken out in support for LGBT+ rights.
Distancing himself from Ms Forbes’s views, he told LBC’s Andrew Marr Show he backed same-sex marriage and would “always fight for the equal rights of others”.
Mr Yousaf said: “I’m a supporter of equal marriage … I’m a Muslim. I’m somebody who’s proud of my faith. But what I don’t do is, I don’t use my faith as a basis of legislation.”
However, he faced criticism when he missed the final vote on the issue in 2014 despite voting in support of it during its first reading.
Addressing concerns at the time, he said on Twitter he was on government business when the vote was scheduled, meeting with the Pakistani Consulate in Scotland.
Ms Regan has also spoken out in support of same sex marriage following the row concerning Ms Forbes’s views.
The former minister for community safety, who earned the nickname “the SNP rebel” by resigning from the role last year over her opposition to the gender reform bill, said she “firmly” supported equal marriage.
She said: “I firmly support the right to equal marriage and I am proud of the SNP Scottish Government’s record in delivering the Equal Marriage Act Scotland in 2014.
“In 2014 everything felt possible as people from across Scotland came together to dream bigger and connect to each other on common purpose, for a better independent Scotland for all.
“Ideas different to our own must not be dismissed but discussed.
“As party leader and first minister, I will take the SNP forward together, with like minds and critical friends, to create a Scotland where everyone feels safe, included and protected in what they say, what they believe and who they love”.
The ballot for SNP members to choose their party’s new leader closes on March 27.