On the spot
Policy worker for the Equality Network, which campaigns for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality
Why should a dislike of homosexuals be regarded as a 'hate crime'? As a Christian who cannot endorse a practice I regard as ungodly, am I a criminal?
William Cassidy, by e-mail
Dislike isn't and shouldn't be a crime, and your views certainly don't make you a criminal. But if you went out and attacked or harassed someone, that would be a crime. If you did it because you believed they were gay, it would be a hate crime. Many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have experienced hate crime, and MSP Patrick Harvie's bill will ensure that those hate motives are recorded and taken into account by the court when the crime is prosecuted.
Do you think Scotland is lagging behind England in tolerance to homosexuality?
Sarah Jackson, Edinburgh
Overall, I don't think so. Roughly the same minority of people in Scotland and England, around 30%, still hold negative views. The majority of Scots, though, believe in equality, and for example support same-sex marriage. But in Scotland, we're short of public figures who are openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. So come on out folks, the weather's better now!
Are you happy with the way gay pupils are being treated by teachers in Catholic schools in Scotland?
Liam Hennessy, by e-mail
A recent survey of pupils across Britain found that 65% of lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils experienced direct homophobic bullying at school, and that rises to 75% in faith schools. Half of those pupils skipped school to escape the bullying. If they told a teacher, two-thirds of the time nothing was done. We are a long way from providing safe and welcoming education for young LGBT people, across the school system.
What do you now see as the main challenge in getting equality for LGBT people in Scotland?
Kenny Bell, by e-mail
Challenging prejudice. Although the majority believe in equality for LGBT people, it often doesn't feel that way. The negative attitudes of a minority can make a big impact on people's lives. We would ask everyone who supports equality to stand up for it and challenge prejudice, whether it's at school, at work, in public places or in private.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North