Gay UK-Scotland News & Reports 2007-11

Some gay Scots links: (magazine)
ttp:// (magazine)

Gay-friendly hotels in Scotland:
Glasgow: Devon Cove Hotel
Glasgow: Belhaven Hotel
Glasgow: Victorian Hotel
Scotland:GNWS Hotel Accommodation Directory

1 Church of Scotland “sinfully” intolerant of gays 4/07

2 Nigeria loses out on Commonwealth Games 11/07

3 Police unveil LGBT community DVD 11/07

4 Death sentence: gay Syrian teenager facing deportation 3/08

5 Campaigners plead with Home Secretary over Syrian deportation 4/08

6 Church of Scotland group calls for HIV training for ministers 4/09

7 Church of Scotland endorses gay minister’s appointment 5/09

8 Kirk to discuss gay clergy policy 5/09

9 Desmond Tutu supports gay clergy 5/09

10 Scottish parliament passes hate crime law to protect gays 6/09

11 Scottish island to hold first same-sex ceremony today 7/09

12 Equal adoption rights for Scottish gay couples begin today 9/09

13 One third of gays and lesbians in Edinburgh physically attacked 3/10

14 Scotia Pride 2010 takes place this Saturday in Edinburgh 6/10

15 Scottish youth parliament calls for gay marriage 8/11

16 61 per cent of Scots support gay marriage 8/11

17 Glasgow council adds support to gay marriage consultation 10/11

25th April 2007 – PinkNews

Church of Scotland “sinfully” intolerant of gays

by writer
A report by prominent members of the Church of Scotland concludes that it is institutionally homophobic and they must embrace lesbian and gay Christians. The Presbyterians are the largest Protestant denomination in Scotland, with 520,000 members.
The report into same-sex partnerships from the working group of the Mission and Discipleship Council will be presented to the General Assembly next month.

It dodges the issue of whether gay people should serve as ministers or church elders, instead concentrating on the treatment of gay people. It also says that many practising Christians think that gay monogamous relationships are acceptable. Last year’s General Assembly voted to allow ministers to bless same-sex couples who had had a civil partnership. That decision was overwhelmingly rejected by the local presbyteries, revealing the divisions over gay issues in the church.

The report focuses on biblical interpretation, though its authors did speak to two Church of Scotland ministers who are in civil partnerships. It concludes: “Many people are both gay and Christian; having a homosexual orientation is not a matter for censure; having a homosexual orientation does not preclude service to Christ in the church and the world. “A homosexual orientation should not be a barrier to any role in church and state, and the Church should oppose all forms of discrimination on these grounds, both in environments where the Church carries authority and in society at large. There is a way to go here.”

Stonewall Scotland’s Calum Phillips was unimpressed that the report: “Theological debates may be very interesting, but same sex relationships are a fact of life, and I would expect all organisations, whatever their basis, to recognise that lesbians and gays have exactly the same rights to a full relationship under the law,” he told The Guardian.

9th November 2007 – PinkNews

Nigeria loses out on Commonwealth Games

by Tony Grew
Glasgow will host the 2014 Commonwealth Games, it was announced today. Scotland’s largest city beat a bid from the Nigerian city of Abuja by 47 votes to 24 at a meeting of the Games voting nations in Sri Lanka. Gay activists in Nigeria had questioned whether that country should be allowed to host the Games because of its “systematic persecution of lesbian and gay Nigerians.”
First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond told the BBC: “We will make these games the greatest sporting event our country has ever seen.

“They will be our chance to show the whole world the very best of Scotland.”

In August a delegation led by Davis Mac-Iyalla, founder and leader of the gay Christian group, Changing Attitude Nigeria, met with the chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) in London to put their case. They presented the CGF with an 11-page report setting out why it should reject the bid by the Nigerian city of Abuja to host the 2014 Games. The Commonwealth Games was founded under its original name, the British Empire Games, in 1930. They are held every four years, giving around 5,000 athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations the chance to compete.

The Commonwealth Games Federation constitution dictates that “there shall be no discrimination against any country or person on any grounds whatsoever including race, colour, gender, religion or politics” in Article 7. The CGF website also claims that “Underlying every decision made by the CGF are three core values – humanity, equality and destiny.” Nigerian law directly contradicts this, stating that anyone who has “carnal knowledge of any person against order of nature or permits a male to have carnal knowledge of him” can be imprisoned for 14 years.

“I would love an African country to host the games, but not Nigeria,” said Peter Tatchell, who accompanied Changing Attitude Nigeria when they met with the chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation. “Awarding Abjua the games would have rewarded bad governance, grave social injustices and the denial of civil rights to millions of Nigerians. Nigeria should be offered the 2018 Games, on the condition that within the next three years it makes serious progress on eradicating corruption, election fraud and human rights violations.”

28th November 2007 – PinkNews

Police unveil LGBT community DVD

by staff writer
A Scottish police force has produced a DVD to support the LGBT community. Entitled Work with us to support our LGBT community, it aims to increase awareness of remote reporting and promote Lothian and Borders police’s diversity work. The impetus for the DVD, which will be launched this evening, came as a result of a study carried out by Queen Margaret College University.
Two of the top five suggestions from the results stated that the LGBT community were not aware of the diversity work carried out by Lothian and Borders police or of schemes such as remote reporting.

Over the past year Lothian and Borders police, who serve a quarter of Scotland’s population, have generated a number of new initiatives to communicate with the LGBT community including an increased presence at Pride Scotia Festival, a web page on Gaydar, monthly LGBT surgeries at the LGBT Centre for Health and Well-being and a monthly magazine column in Village Voices. The DVD explains how the remote reporting scheme works and describes how the police and other agencies can help if a member of the LGBT community is a victim of a hate crime.

Chief Superintendent Colin Campbell of Lothian and Borders Police, said: “I think it is an excellent product which outlines a number of issues concerning our LGBT community and tells everyone about the great amount of work being undertaken by the police in this area. Under-reporting of crime is a major concern for the police in general. Remote reporting helps to address some of the problems faced by the wide communities we serve, offering a safe and alternative method for reporting hate crimes. Lothian and Borders police is constantly looking at ways to engage and communicate with all our LGBT communities and I hope this is just one of many initiatives to come in the future.”

Councillor Jenny Dawe, leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, welcomed the DVD. “Promoting the support offered, by the police, to minority groups is hugely important in ensuring that they feel safe in the communities they live in,” she said. “Hate crimes should not be tolerated and people should not feel intimidated about reporting them. By spreading this message throughout the LGBT community I hope that less crimes will go unreported and more people will feel secure about the support available to them.”

16 March 2008 – Scotland On Sunday

Death sentence: gay Syrian teenager facing deportation

by Kurt Bayer
His only crime was to be gay. For that he was half-drowned, brutally beaten and then fell into a coma. He survived, escaped from jail, fled his country and eventually arrived, exhausted and bedraggled, here in Scotland. And now the Government wants to send him back.
Syrian Jojo Jako Yakob last night pleaded with the Home Office to reverse a deportation order and spare him the certain death he believes he will face if he returns to his country. “I wish to claim asylum and I wish to stay here in Scotland,” he said. Gay rights activists demanded that homosexuals, such as Yakob, who were facing clear persecution in their homeland, should be granted asylum. But a spokesman for the Syrian Embassy responded by describing homosexuality as a “disease”, which the country sought to “treat”. The 19-year-old is now to embark on a landmark legal challenge in order to reverse the deportation order so he can spend the rest of his life in Scotland.

Yakob fled his homeland two years ago after managing to survive a harrowing ordeal at the hands of Syrian police and prison guards, when he was arrested for distributing anti-government leaflets. Following his transfer from police interrogation, prison guards soon discovered that Yakob, a member of the repressed Kurdish minority in the Arab state, was homosexual. He then suffered horrific beatings and was assaulted so badly that he fell into a coma. After being transferred to hospital, he managed to flee to Lebanon making for London, holed up in a lorry. He applied for asylum and was granted extended leave by the Home Office, but was then arrested in Aberdeen last April after being found in possession of a fake Belgian passport. He was handed a 12-month sentence and sent to Polmont Young Offenders Unit in Falkirk. His lawyers say his asylum application was then mistakenly withdrawn and, as a result, he has been served with a deportation order, pending a final hearing this May.

If unsuccessful, he will be sent back to Syria. He has been kept at Polmont as a remand prisoner until that date. His case mirrors that of gay Iranian teenager Mehdi Kazemi, 19, who was this week allowed to stay in Britain after claims that he would be executed if returned to his homeland. Now, while detained at Polmont, Yakob has appealed against a Home Office deportation order and has instructed top Scottish QC, Mungo Bovey, to fight his case. Yakob is terrified of being returned to Syria, where homosexuality is illegal, and believes that if he returns, he faces certain death. Speaking from Polmont last night, Yakob explained why he fears a return to his homeland. “I wish to seek asylum in the UK for a number of reasons,” he said.

“My father is a politician with the Yakiti Party – pro-Kurdish and anti-government. I was arrested when I was 15 years of age for possession of anti-government material. These were basic leaflets for my father’s political party. My father was imprisoned before I left Syria for 13 years for anti-government activity.” Of his arrest, he added: “I was then tortured. I was beaten. At one point I was put up against a wall and a handgun pointed at me. I was told that if I did not tell the authorities what they wanted to know they would shoot me dead. I did not tell them anything, I did not think they would shoot me. The police officer then shot me in my upper left arm. At that point, I told them what they wanted to know as I believed that they would shoot me dead.”

Yakob says he was held in police cells for 20 days without charge and subjected to daily electric shock torture and beatings before being transferred to Ahdas Prison, by the Turkish border. In prison, he formed a relationship with a gay prisoner named Hassain. Yakob explained: “Hassain was serving a sentence, he told me, for 25 years. He told me that the sentence was only because he was gay. “The Syrian government claim that they do not imprison people any longer for being gay and that in any event the maximum sentence is three years. This is not true. The Syrian authorities will always find other charges to bring against a person.” After the pair were seen sleeping together in jail, Yakob said he was subjected to systematic beatings, which “went on for days into weeks”.

He added: “This was all because I was gay. No questions were asked of me about my father’s political party or any other political activity. All the questions related to me being gay. I was also subjected to cold-water torture, where I was put in a room and buckets of cold water were constantly thrown over me. I could not remember what day it was or how long I had been in prison. One day I woke up in hospital in a nearby town of Kamishli. The doctor who was treating me told me that I had been in a coma for 20 days. He said to the authorities that I could not return to prison as I was not fit and I could not stand trial until I had had a rest. He suggested that I be sent home for recuperation. ”

Yakob then decided to flee to the UK. “I went home and after two weeks or so I was feeling better. By that time I had decided that the only option I had was to leave Syria. I left Syria and in 20 days or so arrived in the UK by lorry at Dover. I wish to claim asylum and I wish to stay here in Scotland.”

News of Yakob’s case last night sparked outrage among Scotland’s gay rights and equality groups. Stonewall director Calum Irving said: “We have serious concerns about the UK’s immigration policy, especially since it appears that people are being sent back to countries where their safety is not guaranteed and where they could be persecuted just for being gay.” A spokeswoman for Edinburgh-based Equality Network added: “I feel that we shouldn’t be sending people back to countries where they will be persecuted, even if they entered the country illegally.” But a spokesman for the Syrian Embassy in London denied last night that torture of gay people took place. He said: “Homosexuality is illegal in Syria, but there are no special units to deal with this problem. People are not prosecuted – society looks at this as a disease for which they can be treated – it is a similar position to that taken by the Vatican. I cannot give a clearer answer.”

Yakob will appear before a full immigration hearing in Glasgow on May 7 to determine his fate. Yakob claims that he wants to start a new life in Scotland. He said: “If I was to return to Syria, I would either be returned to jail for my political activities, for having left the country and being gay, or alternatively I would be put into the army for the three-year period. It is likely that they would put me into the army on the basis that the army would kill me one way or the other.”

April 21, 2008 – PinkNews

Campaigners plead with Home Secretary over Syrian deportation

by Tony Grew
More than 20 members of the Scottish Parliament and a former Big Brother winner have called on the government not to deport a gay teenager to Syria. Jojo Yakob is due to be removed from the UK in 16 days. A cross-party motion in the Scottish Parliament in support of Jojo and calling for an immediate moratorium on the deportation of gay and lesbian refugees has been backed by 23 MSPs.
Campaigners have written to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to plead for leniency for Jojo, 19.

“He has been let down by the immigration and asylum services, and slipped through every crack in the system,” they said.

The Scottish National Party’s Westminster Home Affairs Spokesman Pete Wishart MP said: “After Mr Yakob’s terrible ordeal in Syria, it is unacceptable that the Home Office would consider sending him back. There is a very real risk that he would suffer further ill treatment or even possibly death. He has sought asylum in Scotland and I will make an immediate representation to the Home Office in an effort to overturn their ruling before his final hearing in May.”

Jojo claims he will be executed if he is returned to Syria. He escaped two years ago after suffering severe abuse at the hands of the Syrian police and prison guards, when he was arrested for distributing anti-government leaflets. After discovering he was homosexual, prison guards beat him so severely that he fell into a coma, although a spokesman for the Syrian Embassy in London denied that torture of gay people took place.

“Homosexuality is illegal in Syria, but there are no special units to deal with this problem,” he said last month. “People are not prosecuted – society looks at this as a disease for which they can be treated – it is a similar position to that taken by the Vatican.” Jojo has been held at Polmont Young Offenders in Falkirk, Scotland for the last 12 months after being arrested for possessing a fake Belgian passport. His lawyers say an asylum application for his stay in the UK was mistakenly withdrawn and, as a result, he has been served with a deportation order, pending a final hearing on 7th May.

John Loughton, who won the reality show Big Brother: Hijack in January, has added his voice to the campaign. The 20-year-old is Chairman of the Scottish Youth Parliament. “The situation this poor young man is in is incredibly distressing for anyone that hears about it,” he said. “Jojo came to this country to seek refuge but has been utterly failed by the entire system and now faces death on his deportation back to Syria. He has suffered more in prison than most other young offenders in Scotland. No contact from his family and no visits for the 12 months he has been locked away on remand in
Polmont, everyday knowing that he was coming closer to being deported back to Syria where he will face death just because of his sexuality.
I think that the immigration, asylum and court services should be ashamed of the way they have treated Jojo. They have shown a total lack of human compassion, and now it is up to the Scottish people to do everything they can to save his life.”

Jojo’s story echoes that of Iranian teenager Mehdi Kazemi, who is having his case for deportation reviewed following the intervention of more than 60 members of the House of Lords asking for the Home Office to “show compassion.” Mr Kazemi, also 19, was studying in the UK and applied for asylum after his boyfriend was arrested and reportedly executed in Tehran. The boyfriend named Mehdi as a homosexual, and police turned up at his father’s house with a warrant to arrest him. His asylum application was unsuccessful in the UK, so Mehdi fled to Holland, although he was eventually returned to the UK. Supporters of the Jojo Yakob campaign are asked to visit the Save Jojo website for more information.

May 1, 2009 – PinkNews

Church of Scotland group calls for HIV training for ministers

By Staff Writer,
A Church of Scotland group has said that HIV education should be part of the training for new recruits to the ministry.
In a report to the General Assembly, the HIV/AIDS Project argues that a task group should be set up to work with the Ministries Council to look at offering the training.

According to, it said that training at a local, regional and national level would allow ministers to educate their congregations about the disease and improve care and support. The report claimed that if Kirk minsters do not take the lead on HIV awareness and support, there will be no leadership on HIV within the entire Church of Scotland.

May 24, 2009 – CNN

Church of Scotland endorses gay minister’s appointment

(CNN) – A gay minister at the center of a row about his appointment to a church in a Scottish city said he was “humbled” after the Church of Scotland upheld his appointment. In a ground-breaking move, the church’s ruling body voted by 326 to 267 in support of the Rev. Scott Rennie, the church said in a news release Sunday. The 37-year-old’s appointment at Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeen, on Scotland’s northeast coast, provoked opposition from traditionalist members of the church and has led to fears it could cause a damaging split.

More than 400 Church or “Kirk” ministers and almost 5,000 Church of Scotland members are said to have signed an online petition, organized by the Fellowship of Confessing Churches, against the appointment, the BBC reported. Papers lodged with the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly in Edinburgh claimed scriptures in the Old and New Testament describe same-sex activity as a “wrong choice,” the British Press Association said. However, Rennie’s supporters argued that the Bible does not directly address homosexual relationships, which are now “essentially a feature of modern society.”

In a statement released after Saturday night’s vote in the Scottish capital, Rennie said: “I am humbled that the General Assembly has recognized God’s call upon my life.” Ewen Gilchrist, interim moderator at Queen’s Cross Church, was quoted by PA as saying: “It’s a good decision for the General Assembly to have made because it sends out a message that we desire to be welcoming, accepting and inclusive. “The issue of sexual orientation and Scriptural authority is something that has to be wrestled with and cannot be hidden away.”

25 May 2009 – BBC News

Kirk to discuss gay clergy policy

The Church of Scotland is due to debate its general policy on whether to allow gay clergy into the ministry. It could be the first time the Kirk sets out an official position on homosexual clergy. This follows the General Assembly vote on Saturday night not to prevent an openly gay minister taking up a charge in Aberdeen. Monday’s Assembly debate has been sparked by a motion from the Presbytery of Lochcarron and Skye. They are demanding that the Church of Scotland should not accept anyone to be a minister or a deacon who is involved in a sexual relationship outside of marriage with a man or a woman.

Fundamentally, they want the Church to refuse to condone homosexual practice. The motion calls for the passing of an “overture” that would prohibit anybody whose relationships is not faithful and heterosexual from becoming a minister. The Assembly voted on Saturday night to approve the appointment of the Reverend Scott Rennie to Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeen. “ What the bible calls for from the very start of creation is that a man and a woman, one man, one woman, should be committed to each other for life ” Rev Ian Watson. But opponents have said this did not set a precedent.

The Reverend Ian Watson, from the evangelical group Forward Together which supports the overture, said it was not about targeting gay people. He said: “What the bible calls for from the very start of creation is that a man and a woman, one man, one woman, should be committed to each other for life and that is where sexual intercourse and expression is best expressed. The overture from Lochcarron and Skye really is saying that the church shouldn’t ordain or induct anyone to a ministry who’s involved in a sexual relationship outside a faithful marriage between a man and a woman. That’s aimed as much at anybody who is unfaithful as it is to people within the homosexual community.”

The Reverend Peter Johnston, convener of the One Kirk working group, opposes the motion. He told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme there was no question of trying to diminish marriage or committed relationships, but said it was a question of wider relationships. Mr Johnston said: “We would also see that within a covenant relationship, a relationship of promises between two people, that that covenant can exist also between two people of the same sex.” He said that the overpowering message of the scripture to love and love one another was key to the interpretation of those supporting gay clergy, but said there still may not be a definitive position emerging from the debate.

“What’s very important is finding a way that we can hold what are tensions together and keep a conversation going between different people within the church so that we learn and we share from one another,” he added. The assembly will also be hearing from First Minister Alex Salmond on Monday, who is set to call for a process of reform within Scotland, driven by the country’s social and political institutions.

May 27, 2009 – PinkNews

Desmond Tutu supports gay clergy

by Staff Writer,
Archbishop Desmond Tutu received a standing ovation when he spoke out in support of gay clergy at the Church of Scotland General Assembly yesterday. The Anglican leader and former anti-apartheid campaigner called on church members to welcome all, regardless of their sexuality. According to the Herald, he said: “When we were suffering with apartheid in South Africa, how wonderful it was to almost luxuriate in the tremendous support of we received from others in other parts of the world. People were arrested on our behalf.

“You here in Edinburgh were quite outstanding in that support. Ours is a God who is notoriously biased in favour of the poor, the hungry, the downtrodden, those who smell to high heaven, begging in our streets, whop sleep rough, prostitutes, drug addicts, those who are at the edges of our society. In this family there are no outsiders. All, all, are insiders. All are children of our heavenly father: the rich, the poor, the lame, the blind, the clever, the not so clever, the white, the black, the red, the yellow. All, all, all. The Palestinians, the Israelis, Al Quaeda, Bin Laden, George Bush. I will draw all into this embrace of love. All. Lesbians, gays, so called straights. All, all, all. We are family. We are sister and brothers.”

He added: “How in the name of everything that is good can we justify going on spending obscene amounts on budgets of death and destruction, when we know that just a minute fraction of those so-called defence budgets would ensure that God’s children everywhere, our sisters and brothers, would have clean water to drink, enough food to eat and have a decent home, affordable healthcare.

“How can it be that we representing this God can look on when there are those who go to bed hungry, and can spend only one dollar a day?” Archbishop Tutu has previously castigated his church for obsessing over gay issues while poverty, disease and hunger are ravaging the human race.

In September, he accused his church of “persecuting the already persecuted” in its attitude to gay people. Last weekend, the General Assembly voted to approve the appointment of Scott Rennie, an openly gay minister. However, it then imposed a two-year ban on all new appointments of gay ministers.

June 5, 2009 – PinkNews

Scottish parliament passes hate crime law to protect gays

by Jessica Geen
Members of the Scottish Parliament have voted to pass legislation to protect gay, trans and disabled people from hate crime. The new law means targeting victims because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or disability will become an aggravating factor and is likely to lead to heavier sentences. It is also hoped the legislation will encourage more victims of hate crimes to come forward.
The Sentencing of Offences Aggravated by Prejudice (Scotland) Bill was proposed by Patrick Harvie, a Scottish Green MSP who is openly gay.

Despite concerns from the Conservatives that it could create a “two-tier justice system”, the law was passed unanimously. Scotland already took into account crimes motivated by religious or racial hatred, but the new law will bring it in line with the rest of the UK. Mr Harvie said: “The issue of hate crime is one which reaches down into every community and affects real lives. Although this is a small step in the right direction, we should be glad we are able to take it.”

Speaking about his memories of being bullied at school for being gay, he said: “To even challenge it was to risk personal safety – and this in the supposedly protected environment of school. “This hasn’t gone away in the rest of society. This kind of behaviour, which may be wrongly dismissed as playground banter, is deeply harmful criminal behaviour.” He added that the law was no “silver bullet” but was a “necessary part of the overall picture” for tackling prejudice and hate crimes.

It is estimated that one in five lesbian and gay people have been the victim of a homophobic hate crime or incident in the last three years, while disabled people are thought to be four times more likely be assaulted than able-bodies people.

July 20, 2009 – PinkNews

Scottish island to hold first same-sex ceremony today

by Ramsey Dehani
The Isle of Lewis is set to have its first gay civil partnership ceremony today when BBC children’s presenter Andrew Robertson will tie the knot with his partner Craig Atkins. This will be the first one of its kind to happen on the island since same-sex civil partnerships were introduced in 2005. Mr Robertson, who presents children’s shows on Gaelic channel Alba, has said that so far, “Everything has gone smoothly. No hitches at all.”

The strongly religious Outer Hebrides islands of northern Scotland have never had a civil partnership ceremony, and were embroiled in a controversy after councillors agreed to support any registrars who refused to perform the ceremonies on moral grounds. The registrar who is said to be performing the ceremony, Euphemia “Effie” MacDonald, claimed she had no knowledge of the impending nuptials, and when asked, said: “I’ve been told not to comment.” There is already anger on the island about the start of a new ferry service on Sundays.

A spokesman for the church on the island of Lewis said: “On the very weekend the ferry was supposed to sail on the Sabbath, this is disappointing. The council should not be forcing staff to conduct ceremonies like these. It is immoral and a sin.” The council on the western isle has stressed, however, that it will carry out its legal obligation to register same-sex partnerships but uphold its right of discretion to ban ceremonies for same sex-couples.

September 28, 2009 – PinkNews

Equal adoption rights for Scottish gay couples begin today

by Staff Writer,
From today, gay and unmarried couples in Scotland will now have the same adoption rights as straight married couples. This brings Scotland into line with England and Wales. Previously, gay people could adopt as individuals but the new law under the Adoption & Children (Scotland) Act 2007 will give legal rights to both partners.
Although the Church of Scotland has criticised the move, saying gay relationships are “profoundly unstable”, adoption experts have said it puts children first by widening the pool of would-be adoptive parents.

Barbara Hudson, the Scotland’s director of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering said: “BAAF sees this act as recognising the need for a social care framework that is sensitive to the needs of children and not hung up on legalities.

“The act has the potential to provide all parties involved in adoption with the support they need, for as long as they need it. It will strengthen the responsibility of local authorities and encourage those in need to ask for help without feeling stigmatised. In addition, by allowing unmarried couples to adopt, the act has increased the number of potential parents ready to provide a new home for a child who cannot grow up with their own family.

“Finally, the act is ensuring that all those working within adoption in Scotland are striving to put the needs of children first. It is trying, wherever possible, to shape the legal process around the needs of children with speed and sensitivity and without harming the rights of the birth parents.”

March 2, 2010 – PinkNews

One third of gays and lesbians in Edinburgh physically attacked

by Staff Writer,
A third of LGBT people in Edinburgh have been physically assaulted but only 15 per cent reported incidents to police, a small survey has suggested. The Stonewall Scotland research of just over 70 LGBT people found that 66 per cent had been verbally abused while 53 per cent did not feel safe in their neighbourhoods. The results were published yesterday, with the full findings of a survey of 300 people across Scotland to be released in the coming weeks.

Edinburgh city council and the Community Safety Partnership are backing a new scheme to prevent homophobic attacks which uses the slogan ‘Some people are gay. Get over it’. Stonewall Scotland director Carl Watt said: “There are too many homophobic and transphobic hate-crime attacks across Scotland. These incidents range from extreme verbal assaults all the way through to violent attacks.

“By running this campaign, the Edinburgh Community Safety Partnership is sending a strong message that these crimes will not be tolerated.”

He added: “There are many reasons why the LGBT community do not report crimes to the police. People told us that they were unsure about how the police would react, that they were worried about being forced to come out and, even more worryingly, many people have become used to experiencing this form of abuse day in, day out. We hope this campaign will encourage LGBT victims of hate crimes to come forward, and that those people who think this form of crime is acceptable will think twice.”

June 24, 2010 – PinkNews

Scotia Pride 2010 takes place this Saturday in Edinburgh

by Christopher Brocklebank
Scotland’s annual LGBTI festival, Scotia Pride, will take place this Saturday 26 June in Edinburgh. The day will begin with speeches from invited politicians plus a statement from Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, which will be delivered on his behalf by Shirley-Ann Sommerville MSP, SNP Member of the Scottish Parliament for Lothians. The crowds will then march down Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile, past the Scottish Parliament and Holyrood Palace. Edinburgh Council is to fly the rainbow flag from the City Chambers in honour of the day.

According to a press release from Pride Scotia, “A Health and Community Fair in GHQ Nightclub will include exhibitions by several Police forces, Lothian and Borders Fire and rescue (who will also have a fire engine on the march) and a number of health projects and community groups. “The day will round off with a performance by Edinburgh Gay Men’s Chorus in St George’s West Church. Free childcare will be provided by Edinburgh Creche Co-op during the afternoon – please phone 0131-553 2116 to book a space.”

Pride Scotia 2010 will also be celebrating 30 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Scotland. Although legislation was passed in England in 1967, it was not until the late Robin Cook’s amendment to the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980 that the law was changed. Although the law was passed in 1980, it took until the following year to come into force. Scotland was ahead of England on the repeal of Section 28 however, abolishing it in 2000, three years ahead of England.

2 August 2011 – PinkNews

Scottish youth parliament calls for gay marriage

by Jessica Geen
Scotland’s youth parliament has launched a campaign to urge the government to give gay couples the right to wed. The Love Equally campaign is seeking full marriage equality and also calls for straight people to be given the right to have civil partnerships. Yesterday, to launch the drive, youth parliament members Kelley Temple and Eilidh Still posed in wedding dresses outside parliament.

Youth parliament chair Grant Costello said: “The core purpose of the Scottish youth parliament is to involve young people in deciding the future of Scotland. The young people of Scotland have told us that two people who love each other should be able to get married and it is now up to us to lobby the government and ask politicians to listen to them and make their voice heard. By getting young people to be the messengers, we hope to explain the difference between civil partnerships and marriage via a series of local and national campaign activities. Our message to Scotland is that all laws regarding homosexual relationships, whether male or female, should be equal to those of heterosexual relationships.”

In England and Wales, the UK government has announced plans to hold a consultation on the future of civil partnerships and marriage. As these are devolved issues, the consultation does not apply to Scotland. However, polls of the Scottish public have shown rising support for allowing gay couples to marry. In 2006, a poll found that 53 per cent of people supported same-sex marriage. In 2009, this figure rose to 62 per cent. In June, the newly-elected government led by Alex Salmond’s Scottish National Party said it would hold a consultation on the issue. Nicola Sturgeon, deputy leader and minister responsible for equality, said: “We recognise the range of views on same-sex marriage and registration of civil partnerships. We will therefore begin a process of consultation and discussion of these issues as soon as practicable.”

12 August 2011 – PinkNews

61 per cent of Scots support gay marriage

by Jessica Geen
A large majority of Scottish people now support marriage equality. According to the 2010 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, published yesterday, 61 per cent of people believe gays and lesbians should have the right to marry. Respondents were asked whether “gay or lesbian couples should have the right to marry one another if they want to”. Just 19 per cent said they disagreed, while 18 per cent said they neither agreed nor disagreed. Previous poll figures show a marked increase in support for the issue.

In 2002, just 42 per cent of respondents said they backed the right of gays and lesbians to marry. This rose to 53 per cent in 2006. The new SNP government has promised a consultation on the issue and Tim Hopkins of the Equality Network urged ministers to move quickly. He told “These results show that a Scottish government bill on equal marriage would have broad popular support. The Scottish government should ensure that their consultation on marriage equality starts quickly, and should be prepared to move to legislation as the next step.”

31 October 2011 – PinkNews

Glasgow council adds support to gay marriage consultation

by Staff Writer,
Councillors in Glasgow have agreed a motion supporting Scottish Government proposals to allow same-sex marriage.
Councillor Alex Dingwall, who tabled the motion, said: “I’m immensely happy that today Glasgow has continued our city’s proud record of opposing discrimination in all its forms and unanimously supporting the campaign for marriage equality. “In doing so we have rejected those who want to tell our LGBT community in Glasgow that they are not equal, that they are wrong, that they are evil. We are happy to join with the Unitarians, Quakers, Metropolitan Church, Liberal Judaism and others who want to provide equal marriage.”

The motion suggests that the Scottish Government should recognise the “shift in public attitudes within its current consultation on equal marriage”, and that establishing equal marriage and mixed sex civil partnerships would “in no way undermine the rights and freedoms of those religious bodies which do not wish to participate in them”.

The head of the Scottish Episcopal Church also voiced his support for gay marriage this month. The Most Rev David Chillingworth wrote that it is the government’s right to legislate for the change. Writing in the Scotsman, he suggested his own church may “consider changing our canonical definition of marriage”. He wrote: “If, following the consultation period, the Scottish government and parliament feel that they should legislate in this way, I believe that it is their right to do so.

“It is clear that there would be an ‘opt-out’ protection for those who cannot accept this. Churches and faith groups would have to decide whether they wished to use or to stand outside the provisions of such legislation. The suggestion has been made that the Scottish government does not have a mandate to introduce legislation which is of such fundamental significance for our society. Jesus did not call the church into being as a citadel of orthodoxy. He was constantly criticised because he spent time with people who didn’t fit the conventional patterns and were deemed unacceptable by others.”

Last week, the head of the Catholic church in Scotland said gay marriages could be “harmful to society”. Meanwhile, Glasgow archbishop Mario Conti has written to all Scottish parishes to urge them to oppose the government’s marriage equality consultation. He said that churches would “actively campaign” to block marriage rights for gay people and warned that the move would create “larger divisions” in society.

Last week, former SNP leader Gordon Wilson was voted off the board of Dundee’s Citizens Advice Bureau over his views against gay marriage.