KATE Forbes has said her campaign to become Scotland’s next first minister is “absolutely not over” amid a row on her equal marriage views.

On Monday, The Scottish Finance Secretary told several media outlets she would not have supported equal marriage as a “matter of conscience”.

It came after the candidate launched her campaign following a few days of speculation.

Several MSPs have been critical of Forbes's comments. Overnight she has lost a number of endorsements from her fellow SNP members .

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin said on Twitter: “We must be full throated in our support of equal marriage. No if or buts. I won’t be supporting Kate’s campaign on that basis.

“I wish her well – she’s extremely talented. But I have red lines. And this is one.”

Elsewhere, Richard Lochhead, the Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work, said while he initially welcomed Forbes’s campaign, he could not back a leader who would vote against same-sex marriage.

The candidates in the race have until Friday to receive more than the threshold of 100 nominations from at least 20 local branches.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf takes swipe at Kate Forbes over equal marriage position

Tom Arthur, the SNP MSP for Renfrewshire South, said: “Equal marriage is among our Parliament’s greatest achievements and one that I would have been proud to vote for had I been an MSP when it passed.

“Consequently, I am unable to continue to support Kate’s campaign.”

Likewise, Clare Haughey, SNP MSP for Rutherglen, said she could not continue to support Forbes’s leadership bid after her comments.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland this morning, Forbes was asked if her campaign was over before it even began.

“Absolutely not. We have a large party membership, most of whom are not on Twitter”, she said.

“I understand people have very strong views on these matters. I think the public are longing for politicians to answer straight questions with straight answers and that’s certainly what I’ve tried to do in the media yesterday. That doesn’t necessarily allow for much nuance.

“My position on these matters is that I will defend to the hilt everybody’s rights in a pluralistic and tolerant society, to live and to love free of harassment and fear.”

Her comments have also been criticised by members of other parties, including Labour MSP Paul O’Kane.

“I sit across from Kate Forbes every week. My marriage isn’t up for debate. These rights were hard fought for and hard won for me and hundreds of others across Scotland”, he said.

“They are celebrated by our allies, families and friends. Our first minister must stand up for them.”

Meanwhile, Humza Yousaf, also appearing on the BBC, said that it was down to Forbes to “defend her views”.

He said: “I’m a minority in this country, I have been my entire life and my rights don’t exist in some kind of vacuum, my rights are independent on other people’s rights and therefore I believe very firmly, in fact with every fibre of my being, that your equality is my equality, therefore I’ll always fight for the equal rights of others regardless of who they are.”

Forbes also said that she regretted the pain caused by her comments. Speaking on Times Radio, she said: “I regret enormously the pain or hurt that has been caused because that was neither my intention, and I would seek forgiveness if that is how it’s come across.”

She added that she defends the rights of LGBT+ people to live “free of harassment, fear and prejudice”.