Gordon Wilson, former SNP leader and marriage campaigner: 1938-2017

Gordon Wilson, former leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and a fierce contender for traditional marriage, has died aged 79.

Wilson led the SNP between 1979 and 1990 and represented Dundee East in the House of Commons from 1974 to 1987.

After retiring from politics Wilson continued to campaign on Christian issues and faced hostility for his stance against same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriage

In 2011, he was ousted from his role as Director of the Dundee Citizens Advice Bureau after he asserted that no Government has the right to “redefine” marriage. When he failed to secure re-election at the Bureau, he told the BBC he had been the subject of “religious discrimination”.

For several years, Wilson served as Chairman of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity, which called for same-sex marriage to be decided via a referendum, rather than in Parliament.

Commenting on his life Revd David Robertson, founder of Solas, said: “Before he died he told me that he had no fear because he knew where he was going, only sorrow for the family that he would leave behind.

“We share with Edith and the family in that sorrow and pray that they would know the comfort of the Comforter. We give thanks for Gordon and his life and witness.”

‘Personal sacrifice’

This weekend, Wilson was remembered fondly by leading figures in the SNP including leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who described him as a “passionate advocate for Scotland”.

Former First Minister Alex Salmond said Scotland owes him a “great debt” and Jim Sillars, Former Deputy Leader of the SNP, said he was a man who “displayed honesty, integrity, and revealed a moral compass that unerringly pointed in the direction of a fair and just society”.

BBC journalist Brian Taylor commented: “Perhaps he will be remembered most for the persistence and passion of his commitment to the cause he selected while still a young man.”


Gordon Wilson is survived by his wife Edith, his daughters Margaret and Katie, and his five grandchildren.

He died in hospital yesterday morning after a short illness.