Scotland’s first minister Ms Sturgeon will apologise on behalf of the Scottish government to gay men convicted prior to 2001 under discriminatory laws against same-sex sexual activity that is now legal, on 7 November. It coincides with new legislation giving an automatic pardon to those affected.
The legislation was promised by Ms Sturgeon when she presented her programme for government in September.
Such crimes will be removed from criminal records.
Gay men who were convicted of same-sex offences in Scotland while homosexuality was illegal in Scotland are to receive full pardons.
The Scottish government will announce a new bill next week to enable all convicted gay men in Scotland to receive a formal pardon. Men still living would be able to apply for a “disregard” to remove convictions from their record. In order to check that offences are not still illegal, such as non-consensual sex and sex with someone under 16, living persons would have to apply and be checked.
The Scottish bill will be slightly different from the new legislation in England and Wales which only “automatically” pardons those who died before February this year.
Nevertheless it is welcome news.
The Scottish Episcopal Church will hold a historic vote this year on whether to allow gay couples to marry in church.
If the vote is passed, it will become the first Anglican Church in the UK to allow same-sex marriage.
Supporters hope that if their arguments hold, gay couples will be walking down the aisles of some Scottish churches within the year.
The Head teacher of St Mungo’s High School in Falkirk apologised to his pupils after leaflets describing homosexuality as “intrinsically disordered” and “fundamentally dangerous” were found on campus.
The leaflet, “The Church and same sex attraction”, were found by senior students last week. The Roman Catholic school has now removed all copies of the leaflets produced by the Catholic Truth Society and is investigating where they came from.
Describing some gay people as those with “deep-seated tendencies” and gay sex as “acts of grave depravity”, the pamphlet states: “Sometimes people with troubled spirits are urged to ‘adopt a homosexual lifestyle. This can be very harmful. Talking about it with a priest of friend may help….but adopting a homosexual lifestyle will not increase their happiness in the long run.”
Aidan Callahan, a sixth year pupil at St Mungo’s, found the material in the school’s oratory and after reading it, complained to head teacher Stephen Phee.
“Homophobia isn’t an issue at our school, so I was really surprised to see something like this. Mr Phee apologised straight away and said they shouldn’t have been there, and he would investigate how they got there.”
The Church of Scotland has been asked to apologise for its “history of discrimination” against homosexual people and could be a step closer to allowing ministers to perform same-sex marriages.
A report by the Theological Forum of the Church of Scotland to be debated at the Kirk’s General Assembly in May proposes having a church committee research allowing nominated ministers and deacons to carry out the ceremonies while retaining the ability for “contentious refusal” from those opposed to same-sex marriage.
The report also calls for “the Church to take stock of its history of discrimination at different levels and in different ways against gay people and to apologise individually and corporately and seek to do better”.
Finlay Wilson | 17062
A man whose video of kilted yoga sessions in a Scottish forest became a viral hit has been targeted with homophobic hate mail at his home.
Police Scotland has issued an appeal for witnesses after Finlay Wilson, from Dundee, whose Kilted Yogi videos were viewed more than 50 million times worldwide last month, received a letter telling him to leave his home and threatening his safety.
The handwritten note was left on the 30-year- old’s doorstep at his home in the city on Tuesday morning.
Mr Wilson said: “It said threatening stuff like ‘you need to watch yourself’ and they said they’d been watching my videos online and that they want me to get out. I don’t really know anyone in the building. My friends have been saying they didn’t realise this sort of thing still happened in this day and age. I was upset at first, but now I am furious because someone’s aim is to intimidate me and terrorise me into leaving my home because of their own bigoted beliefs.”