An openly gay minister in Scotland
whose appointment to Queen's Cross Church in January caused major
controversy has been honored by a gay rights group in the UK, the BBC
Stonewall, the nation's largest gay
rights advocate, named Reverend Scott Rennie its “Hero of the Year”
on Thursday at its fourth annual Stonewall Awards. The London event
was hosted by British television presenter Gok Wan.
Rennie, 37, withstood a challenge by
religious conservatives in the Church of Scotland, a Presbyterian
denomination, to his appointment in June and took up his role on July
“Because I do not see myself as a
hero, I would rather accept this on behalf of all those in the
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community who contribute to
the life of churches and faith communities, simply by living out love
in their lives, for God, for their neighbor, and who share their
gifts with those communities in the hope of making a difference to
the world they live in,” Rennie said in accepting his award.
Church leaders voted to keep Rennie as
minister, despite a vocal campaign to have him ousted by
conservatives, who went so far as to liken supporters of gay clergy
to Nazis, and a petition drive that attracted almost 12,000
signatures from clergy representing various denominations worldwide.
“Champions of gay equality are
crucial if we are to create a modern, accepting Britain,” Ben
Summerskill, executive director of Stonewall, said in a statement.
“In the light of recent homophobic hate crimes in Liverpool and
London, the Stonewall Awards provide a much-needed platform to
showcase the strength, confidence, visibility and talent of lesbian
and gay people in this country. We paused during the celebrations to
remember recent targets of homophobic hate – both on the streets
and in the media.”