There’s more good news for Nicola Sturgeon
Following a landslide election victory for the SNP in Scotland, there’s more good news for First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
An index released today that looks at a range of equality issues has rated Scotland as the most progressive country in Europe.
Scotland now meets 92% of the index’s rigorous 48-point criteria for LGBTI equality and human rights legislation – above the UK as a whole on 86%.
A number of equality issues are devolved in Scotland, with the country’s same-sex marriage law excluding a controversial ‘spousal veto’ and other clauses present in the Westminster legislation.
The UK as a whole still performs better than any other country – despite the lack of same-sex marriage and adoption in Northern Ireland, and lack of recognition of intersex people – but is likely set to drop down the rankings in coming years due to plans to repeal the Human Rights Act.
Belgium came second on 83% – while Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain and Malta also ranked highly.
Azerbaijan performed worst, at the bottom of the list with 5%, followed by Russia, Armenia and Ukraine.
Tom French, Policy and Public Affairs Coordinator for the Equality Network, said: “The fact that Scotland now ranks best in Europe overall on LGBTI legal equality is welcome recognition for the efforts of campaigners and the willingness of our politicians to properly consult with LGBTI people and then act on the evidence by passing progressive measures.
“However, the Equality Network warns against any complacency, as we know there is still much more to do to achieve full equality for LGBTI people in Scotland.
“As ILGA’s review shows there are still areas where Scotland is failing to respect LGBTI human rights and falling behind the progress in other countries, particularly when it comes to the rights of trans and intersex people.
“There is also a big difference between securing legal rights and full equality for LGBTI people in their everyday lives.
“Despite real progress in the law, LGBTI people in Scotland are still facing unacceptable levels of prejudice, discrimination and disadvantage throughout their lives.”
In last weeks’ election, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander was unseated by a 20-year-old student.