THE First Minister has been dragged into a bitter war of words over the first gay wedding ceremony to take place in Scotland.
Nicola Sturgeon has accepted an invitation to be a witness at the December 31 wedding ceremony of Gerrie and Susan Douglas-Scott from Glasgow.
Both women are members of the Humanist Society Scotland, whose chief executive Douglas McLellan has accused them of spoiling his organisation’s plans.
Humanists were planning a “first” gay wedding for a gay couple from Clackmannanshire and tried and failed to secure Ms Sturgeon’s attendance.
As well as bagging the star guest, it looks likely that Gerrie and Susan will become the first to conclude the wedding ceremony.
Mr McLellan has now publicly accused Gerrie and Susan of being misleading and going behind his back.
He even emailed fellow humanists suggesting they do not officiate at the “rival” wedding.
And he suggested both women could be kicked out of the Humanist Society Scotland.
On Tuesday same sex couples were able to convert existing civil partnerships after gay marriage was made legal in Scotland.
But couples not in civil partnerships must wait until the first seconds of December 31 before having a legally-binding wedding ceremony.
Humanists carefully organised a first gay wedding for Clackmannanshire couple Malx Brown and Joe Schofield, both 42, timing their ceremony in Glasgow to the second.
They invited Ms Sturgeon and Scottish Green party leader and MSP Patrick Harvie, both of whom will be witnesses at the “rival” wedding also in Glasgow.
Mr McLellan said yesterday his organisation had been made to look like “idiots”.
He said: “We knew that they [Susan and Gerrie] wished to have a ceremony on 31st December as would other couples.
“We did not think that there would be a potentially rival event stemming from inside the society.”
“We understand that Patrick [Harvie] is a family friend and it appears that Susan and Gerrie were very quickly off the mark by inviting others to their event.
“We then reached out to politicians only to find that they had been booked elsewhere.”
Asked if the couple will still be part of the society the chief executive added: “Despite being made to look like idiots to partner organisations…no action will be taken prior to the night in question.
“What will happen after that is confidential.”
In an email sent to humanist celebrants after Ms Sturgeon agreed to attend the women’s wedding he warned: “We would hope that no colleague would seek to rival the society’s official position.”
In a reference to Ross Wright, the humanist conducting Malx and Joe’s wedding, he added: “The society will take a very dim view of any situation that could be detrimental to the ceremony being officiated by Ross.”
Gerrie and Susan will be married by a registrar, meaning their legal documents will be on hand to sign and almost certainly making them first to marry.
But Gerrie Douglas Scott, 59, denied there was any rivalry involved.
She said: “After 20 years together we’ll be looking at each other and not the clock.
“We have five children who want us to do this, and we’ll be doing it for them.”
Too upset to continue speaking, she passed the phone to Susan, 54, who said: “This is nothing about rivalry. It’s about love.
“We advised the humanist society that we would get married as soon possible. They always knew we would do that.
“I know Nicola [Sturgeon] through work and Patrick is a family friend.
“We wish Joe and Malx every best wish in the world.”
Joe and Malx, from Tullibody, declined to be drawn into the row. Joe said: “We just wish everyone all the best and long and happy relationships for those now having equal rights under Scots law.”
The Scottish Government yesterday insisted the First Minister had not snubbed the Humanist Society Scotland.
A spokesman said: “The First Minister was delighted to accept the invitation from Gerrie and Susan to be a witness at their wedding.
“This was a personal invitation from a couple that the First Minister knows and had been accepted before she received the invite from the Humanist Society for Scotland.”