Gays and disabled are ‘coerced into marriage’

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Gay people and people with disabilities were among those being forced into marriage over the past year, according to new figures.

A special helpline has received 75 calls since new laws on forced marriage came into force in Scotland in November last year.

More than 5 per cent of the calls to the Scottish Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage line concerned people being pressured into marriage because they have a physical or learning disability or because of their sexuality, officials revealed.

In addition, the UK Forced Marriage Unit has dealt with a further 66 instances of forced marriage across the UK involving those with disabilities.

Ten cases in the past year alone centred around victims who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).

Those from the LGBT community might be coerced into marriage because their families mistakenly believe that “marrying off” their son or daughter to a member of the opposite sex will mask their sexuality or make them heterosexual.

A campaign has been launched to raise awareness of forced marriage among vulnerable groups

Peter Scott, of Enable Scotland, said: “People who have a learning disability, like everyone else, have the right to develop personal relationships.”