KATE Forbes has said she believes having children out of wedlock is “wrong”.

The SNP leadership candidate said in an interview with Sky News she believed it was “up to” individuals whether they had children outside of marriage but it was something she would “avoid”.

The Finance Secretary – who has lost her place as the bookies' favourite to take over as first minister since she made anti-gay marriage comments on the day she officially launched her campaign – said she would “celebrate” the birth of children outside of marriage “irrespective of the family”.  

Asked for her views on having children out of wedlock, she told the broadcaster: “It's entirely up to them. It's something that I would seek to avoid for me personally.

"But it doesn't fuss me, it doesn't put me up nor down. The choices that other people make is [up to them].

"In terms of my faith, my faith would say that sex is for marriage and that's the approach that I would practice."

She added: "For me, it would be wrong according to my faith, but for you I have no idea what your faith is. So, in a free society you can do what you want."

Pressed on whether she believed it wrong for other people to have children outside of marriage, Forbes said: "You're also asking me, do I think that some of my family who have done that [have children outside of marriage] are wrong, some of my friends who have done that are wrong? 

"I mean, I accept them, you know that's choices that they've made and we either live in a tolerant society where I can celebrate the birth of children – irrespective of the family – or not.

“And I do celebrate those lives that have been brought into the world.”

Forbes ignited controversy on Monday when she said she would not have voted for equal marriage in 2014, leading to a number of her backers withdrawing their support for her run at the SNP leadership.

She has also said that she did not feel self-identification was sufficient grounds on which an individual could change their gender in law – putting her entirely at odds with the Scottish Government’s gender recognition reforms.