A minister will apologise to the LBGT community for “cruelty and injustice” suffered at the hands of the church when he opens Perth’s first Pride event.
Reverend Scott Burton of St Matthew’s Church will open the festival celebrating LGBT rights and said it is an “incredible honour” to be asked to play such an important role.
The minister will use his speech to apologise to the region’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community on behalf of the Church of Scotland for any prejudice they have faced from the church or its members.
Speaking before Saturday’s festival, Mr Burton said: “I am absolutely over the moon to be invited to open this fabulous occasion, it is an incredible honour.
“I will be taking the opportunity to apologise to members of the LGBT community if they have felt hurt, insulted and ostracised from the Church of Scotland.
“Forgive us for all the pain we have caused you and which we continue to inflict on you.
“We stand in solidarity with every person here who has been damned and denounced spiritually, psychologically, emotionally and physically by those who try to make out LGBT people are somehow second class.”
His words come following a national Church of Scotland decision made last year to apologise for its history of discrimination against gay people and do better in future.
While he accepts other people within the faith may hold different views, Reverend Burton will tell all members of the LGBT community that they are welcome at his church.
“I want them all to know that my congregation and leadership team at St Matthew’s stand with every person here who has been ostracised and criticised by the Church for simply being who they are,” he added.
“They are not second class and I, and a growing number of people within the Church, believe that they are the people that God has created them to be.
“Love changes the world for the better and I hope and I pray that Perthshire’s first ever Pride event is going to be a day of love, not hate.”
The carnival-style festival includes a joint performance of Disney hits and show tunes by the Perth Amateur Operatic Society and Perth City Operatic Group.
There will also be live music from local acts Hypocrites and Molly MacDonald.
The fun begins on Saturday from 1pm in the Perth Concert Hall plaza, with an after-party featuring drag acts from 7.30pm.