CANDIDATES hoping to be elected for Shetland at the upcoming Holyrood election have spoken out about one hopeful standing on an anti-gay marriage stance.

Peter Tait, who is standing as an independent, said Covid-19 is “possibly related” to gay marriage, according to the Shetland Times.

Tait, a former mussel farmer, is standing for election on the single-issue of opposing same-sex marriage. He told the local newspaper that he made the decision to do so because of his religious beliefs, adding: “I’m representing as best I can things that God would want me to represent.”

Asked if he expects a backlash against his beliefs, Tait said: “I suppose there likely will.”

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The candidate ran in the 2019 Shetland by-election, pledging to reintroduce the Scottish monarchy to the UK if he was successful. However, he came in last place with just 31 votes.

Candidates have criticised Tait’s platform. SNP candidate Tom Wills (below) told Shetland News: “I support everyone’s right to marry whoever they like. We can’t know for sure if Peter Tait is sincere or just seeking attention, but his views are out of place in the 21st century.”

The National:

Meanwhile, Scottish Labour hopeful Martin Kerr said his party “supports the rights of gay people to marry”.

LibDem candidate Beatrice Wishart said that Tait’s comments “don’t belong in the 21st century”.

The Highlands and Islands lead Greens candidate, Arianne Burgess, urged Tait to say sorry.

“Many people will be appalled by Peter Tait’s views,” she said. “This kind of outdated prejudice is exactly the sort of politics that we should be moving away from.

“Equal marriage was a major achievement, and has meant so much to couples across Shetland and beyond.

“In comparison Covid is a deadly virus that has caused heartache and misery to families all over the world. I urge Mr Tait to reconsider his comments and apologise for them.”

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In response, Tait denied being an “attention seeker” but said he would not apologise for his remarks.

However, he said his comments may have been different if he were not taking questions on the phone.

He told Shetland News he had no policy proposals on local issues which will be debated ahead of the May 6 vote.