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St Andrew’s Day: 15 stories that show why we love Scotland

Nick Duffy November 30, 2015
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To celebrate St Andrew’s Day, PinkNews takes a look back at fifteen of our favourite stories to come out of Scotland.

As Scotland celebrates its national day, we count down fifteen stories that’ll make anyone proud to be Scottish.

1. This man silenced a homophobe in the most Scottish way possible

This young bagpipe player was praised for taking down a hate-spewing preacher.

As a man yelling into a microphone about how marriage equality has ruined the economy in St Andrews, a teen drowns him out by playing the traditional tune ‘Scotland the Brave’ on his bagpipes.

2. Scotland’s first same-sex weddings took place

As Scotland’s same-sex marriage bill came into force at the stroke of midnight on December 31, the first couples knot.

Joe Schofield and partner Malcolm Brown tied the knot at 00:01 in a humanist ceremony. Theirs is also the first legally recognised humanist same-sex wedding in the country, as humanist marriages remain unrecognised in England and Wales.

3. …and then two men LITERALLY tied the knot

After same-sex weddings began in Scotland, hedge witches Tom Lanting and Iain Robertson literally tied the knot in an Edinburgh ceremony.

Scotland is the only part of the UK where minor religious bodies including Pagans are permitted to marry, making it the UK’s first legal gay pagan wedding.

4. Scotland threw a major lifeline to Northern Irish gay couples

The Scottish government recently made reforms to aid couples who were ‘trapped’ in Northern Irish civil partnerships, because of a legislative oversight.

Previously only Scottish civil partnerships could be converted in Scotland, and only English and Welsh civil partnerships in England and Wales – but Holyrood recently amended procedures to let couples from Northern Ireland, still without marriage equality, to convert in Scotland as well.

5. This condom ad happened and it was weird as hell

An HIV charity in Scotland teamed up with the NHS to encourage gay and bisexual men to use condoms.

Brace yourselves for more fruit and veg than Channel 4’s next gay drama.

6. The Church of Scotland voted to allow gay ministers

Earlier this year, the Church of Scotland approved to allow gay ministers in the Kirk.

With 309 voting to approve gay ministers and 182 against, the measure easily passed its elected house – welcoming LGBT people into the Church.

7. A gay flamingo couple adopted a baby at Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo’s famous panda Tian Tian has competition for the nation’s hearts, after a pair of gay Chilean flamingos rescued a baby chick that fell out of its nest.

Zookeeper Colin Oulton said: “We’ve been able to utilise these male male bonds and it’s working out fairly well. Male male pairs are equally able to rear youngsters.”

8. Political leaders actually admitted drug use

Politics is not a profession known for overwhelming honesty – but Scotland’s leaders are upfront about their weed-smoking pasts.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Out Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson (pictured) and Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie all admitted to trying cannabis in their youth.

9. John Barrowman redefined the meaning of the ‘Glasgow Kiss’

We can’t forget this iconic moment during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, when John Barrowman paid tribute to marriage equality in Scotland with a ‘new Glasgow kiss’

Homosexuality is still punishable with prison sentences in 40 out of 54 Commonwealth nations – most of whom broadcast the kiss live on TV.

10. A rainbow appeared over Edinburgh during the final equal marriage vote

While Holyrood was giving its final approval to Scotland’s equal marriage bill back in February 2014, a rainbow appeared in the sky over Edinburgh.

It turned out to be a good omen for equality, with MSPs voting 105 to 18 in favour, during a free vote.

11. Section 28 backer Brian Souter said he’d now accept a gay child

Stagecoach boss Brian Souter – who funded the ‘Keep the Clause’ campaign in 2000 to argue against the repeal of Section 28 – all but conceded defeat on his militant opposition to LGBT rights.

He said: “[I support] the traditional marriage-based family, and I’m afraid that stance gets interpreted as being homophobic.”

Mr Souter added: “Yes, I do [have gay friends]”, before claiming he wouldn’t mind if one of his children were gay.

12. The independence dilemma was re-imagined as a gay romantic comedy

As the country prepared to vote on independence last year, filmmaker Bob Denham launched a skit featuring ‘Scott’ and ‘Adrian’, two lovers on the verge of breaking up.

Though Scotland ultimately rejected Independence by 55% to 45%, viewers voted in favour of Scott breaking up with Adrian, by 1505 to 1100.

13. Grindr users predicted the result of the referendum

A poll conducted on Grindr came closer to the actual result than most actual pollsters managed.

While pollsters were forecasting a tight 51%-49% result, Grindr user Tom Court’s poll of 655 users found a 54%-46% split.

14. An SNP advisor gave up politics to become a drag queen in London

Nathan Sparling was an advisor to MSP Aileen Campbell – but he hung up his lanyard and put on his heels after the independence vote, to take his drag act Nancy Clench to London.

Aileen Campbell said: “I wish Nathan and Nancy well on their move to London. Swapping the Clydesdale constituency office for the city lights will bring new and exciting opportunities.”

15. A by-election candidate pledged to ‘easily’ stop same-sex marriage

Only in Scotland would you get someone so confident as independent council candidate Philip Mitchell.

He made a bold claim in a leaflet ahead of the Troup by-election, writing: “If elected, I pledge to easily veto (with clear-lawfulness taking precedence over voting) Aberdeenshire Council Registrars from fraudulently issuing certificates of Marriage.”

Check out PinkNews.Scot for all our Scotland coverage!

Related topics: day, Gay, LGBT, National, Scotland, Scotland, Scottish, St Andrew's Day

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