Kirk criticised

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”.

Kilt off!


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.”

Scotland’s gays to be pardoned

The Scottish government is to move to pardon men who were convicted of same-sex offences before laws against homosexuality were scrapped. Private homosexual acts between men aged over 21 were decriminalised in England and Wales in 1967, but the law in Scotland was not changed until 1980.

Scottish Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said it was “shocking” to consider that consensual sex between men was only decriminalised in 1980, and ages of consent not equalised until 2001. He said he was working with Police Scotland to have convictions disregarded, with an “automatic pardon” for those convicted of now-legal activity.

Under age sex gets soldier in trouble

Alexander Gemmell, 29, a gay soldier admitted having sex with an under-age boy he groomed on a dating website. They went to wasteland in Perth in a black Range Rover and engaged in sex acts. The youngster’s mother found he had taken an illegal drug and was told the soldier had given it to him.

Gemmell, who is based at Leuchars in Fife, started communicating with the boy online. Depute Fiscal Carol Whyte told Perth Sheriff Court: “The accused describes himself as a homosexual and sent correspondence to the boy on a chat site called Fab Guys. The boy’s mother questioned where he had got an illegal drug from and he said it was from a man he had been meeting for sex. The mother phoned the police and officers took away the boy’s phone and computer.”

The boy had told his mother he had joined the website to meet men for sex. Gemmell admitted sexual offences with an underage male between August 24 last year and January 24 this year. Sentence was deferred until October 12 for background reports and Gemmell was placed on the sex offenders’ register.

Pastor sent packing

A speaking engagement in Galashiels, Scotland by South African preacher Angus Buchan, who believes homosexuality can be “cured” by prayer, has been cancelled. Buchan was due to address an audience next Monday evening as the guest of the Tweedbank-based evangelical Hope Church.

The £5-a-head event was to have been the 69-year-old’s only Scottish appearance on a tour of the UK and Ireland. Following a plea from the Scottish Borders LGBT Equality Forum, Live Borders, the trust which runs public halls on behalf of Scottish Borders Council, cancelled the booking.

The nasty mood spreads

A bus driver of a McGill’s bus in Glasgow has been arrested over claims he verbally abused a young gay couple and barred them from his bus on Friday 10 June.

The driver is reported to have sworn and told the two 20-year-old male passengers that “people like you” should not be on the McGill’s bus. Police Scotland confirmed a 46-year-old man was arrested under a law that deals with homophobic offences.

The couple are reported to have described sitting in shock during the journey, but said they challenged the driver as they got off, and claimed he told them they were banned from using McGill’s buses in future and that he refused to let them on his bus a few days later.

Hate crimes up in Scotland

A slight increase in incidents of hate crimes were reported to Scotland’s prosecution service in 2015-16, compared to the previous year.

1,020 charges were reported with an aggravation of prejudice relating to sexual orientation, up 20 per cent on the previous year, and 201 relating to disability, an increase of 14 per cent.

Don’t order the cake just yet

The Scottish Episcopal Church’s General Synod has made the first steps of any Anglican Church in the UK towards allowing gay marriage in church.

The synod voted that a change to its Canon law governing marriage should be sent for discussion to the church’s seven dioceses. A further vote will happen at next year’s synod.