I DON’T agree with Kate Forbes views on gay marriage and gender self-ID, but one can only admire her honesty, and she has said that as a democrat she would legislate on such issues if that was the settled will of the Scottish Parliament. That is far more progressive than the opposition parties that refuse to accept Holyrood decisions on gender recognition reform or holding a referendum on independence.

I don’t recall other party leaders being demonised or interrogated by the media on their religious beliefs and this should not be allowed to dominate the SNP leadership contest.

READ MORE: Televised SNP leadership debates set to go ahead

There were several live TV debates on the Tory leadership contest last summer and the BBC and other broadcasters have a duty to provide the same primetime coverage of the SNP contest in order that non-SNP members, like me, can hear a proper debate on the major issues facing Scotland. The format must allow candidates the time and space to put forward their visions for Scotland and confirm the SNP record in government.

We need to hear the benefits of independence and how our energy-rich nation can emulate our nearest much wealthier neighbours, particularly as we are stuck in a UK facing years of stagnant growth and where none of the London parties are honest enough to admit Brexit has been disaster, with no plans for a return to freedom of movement or the single market.

Mary Thomas

YEAR after year we all complain at the lack of answers from politicians. They evade and squirm around difficult questions that they know the media (not necessarily the public) will not like. Take the outgoing FM – she couldn’t answer the simple questions of what is a woman, or whether the rapist Adam Graham (Isla Bryson) was a man or a woman.

READ MORE: Kate Forbes says having children outside of marriage is 'wrong'

Now Kate Forbes has given a clear and precise answer to what were questions aimed at tripping her up and stoking up controversy. The National has done just that with Tuesday’s front page: bold red text, anger at her response. For an indy-supporting paper you should be ashamed. You should be proud that an MSP aiming to be our FM is honest and will tackle the difficult (and ultimately irrelevant) questions head-on.

We need the truth, we need independence first, people need to trust our FM, not some slippery-worded politician without a backbone to stand up for what they believe in.

Kenneth Sutherland

HOW can anyone who advocates for the LGBTQ+ minority not respect the faith held by Kate Forbes? Respect and support for diversity is a two-way process and cannot be exclusive.

Ms Forbes made it very clear that although she would vote in accordance with her faith she will uphold and defend the outcome of democratic process. It is disappointing to see that her position is not well represented in your Tuesday front-page banner headline and that your headline does not reflect the full content of the article on pages 4-5.

READ MORE: Kate Forbes loses SNP endorsements following equal marriage comments

I am reminded of the line derived from French philosopher Voltaire that I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it. It takes great confidence in one’s conviction to be able to take this position. I believe this is better reflected by Kate Forbes than those in the mainstream and social media that have chosen to attack her since her statement on Monday. I know whose side I am on.

Ni Holmes
St Andrews

WHY is there such emphasis on Kate Forbes’s religious beliefs? Why are we not hearing about religious beliefs of the other candidates? Let’s have a fair balance.

MD Clark

THE furore about Kate Forbes's personal views is overblown. Every single one of us has personal views about everything and there are differences of opinion about many things. Having your own view on anything is perfectly acceptable, but it is the collective decision that is important.

To her credit she was open and honest about her view but – and this has not reached the headlines – she has reaffirmed that she abides by the collective decision, which is exactly what democratic government and leadership is about. We all get faced with the same sort of quandary throughout our lives and differences of opinion is what constitutes debate. Anything else is autocratic dictatorship.

Kate’s interview was all about a journalist looking for fault and trying to create one! Remember that the role of a leader is to collate collective views and present or represent them.

Nick Cole
Meigle, Perthshire

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon handed Yes an opportunity – some are just panicking

ALL this discussion about Kate Forbes’s religion throws up the question of other politicians’ religious beliefs. We know Humza Yousaf is a Muslim and that is a religion oppressive of women’s rights which reflects on the equality issue but nobody is asking him incessantly about that.

Similarly, to be a monarch of the UK, you cannot be a Catholic under the terms of the 1701 Settlement Act still in force but nobody is quizzing King Charles on his views about that.

The members of the SNP will weigh up all the relevant factors and choose the person who presents the clearest picture of a successful independent Scotland and has the determination to lead us to it. As an SNP member I am still deciding who that is.

Susan Grant

WHEN are the SNP going to stop allowing the Unionist mainstream media and especially the BBC from dictating the direction of travel for the leadership contest?

Davie Watson
via email