SCOTLAND has been rated the best country in Europe for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality and human rights for the second year running.
Scotland continues to be ahead of the rest of the UK and all other European countries in the legal protections offered to LGBTI people, according to an annual review of LGBTI equality and human rights laws and government policies.
The Rainbow Europe Index 2016 measures progress in 49 European countries on LGBTI equality against a 52-point criteria that includes legal protections from discrimination in employment and services, measures to tackle hate crime, rights and recognition for transgender, non-binary and intersex people, and equality in family law including same-sex marriage and parenting rights.
Scotland rose to the top of the Index last year following the passage of the Scottish Government’s equal marriage legislation.
Angela Crawley MP, the SNP spokesperson for Women, Children and Equalities at Westminster said: “The fact that Scotland continues to be rated the best country in Europe for LGBTI equality is welcome recognition for the progress we are making to ensure Scotland is a fair and equal country for everyone.
“The SNP is committed to equality and social justice for all. We were proud to pass Scotland’s progressive equal marriage and hate crime laws, but we know that the job of achieving full equality is not yet done.
“That’s why the SNP has pledged to reform gender recognition law to secure greater equality for transgender and non-binary people.
“It’s why the SNP Scottish Government is investing record levels of funding in projects to secure LGBTI, gender, race and disability equality, and it’s why the SNP is committed to ensuring education, healthcare, gender reassignment, policing and other public services are inclusive and meet the needs of all people, including LGBTI people.
“We are taking action in many other areas too, from tackling hate crime to abolishing employment tribunal fees to promoting inclusivity in sport, but it is important that the UK government also listens and acts in those areas that are still reserved to Westminster, including the need to ensure all trans, non-binary and intersex people have full legal protections from discrimination, to reform the asylum system that fails too many LGBTI people, and to promote LGBTI equality around the world.
“That’s why the SNP will continue to act in government and push the UK government to take action too.”
While Scotland remains best in Europe for LGBTI equality, meeting 90.4 per cent of ILGA-Europe’s criteria, the UK as a whole has fallen behind Malta (88 per cent) and Belgium (82 per cent).