MSPs forced to hear proposal on legalising incest in Scotland

MSPs will be forced to hear a proposal to legalise incest at the Scottish Parliament tomorrow.

The Scottish Parliament. Picture: Jane Barlow.
The Scottish Parliament. Picture: Jane Barlow.

Holyrood’s Public Petitions Committee will once again hear Richard Morris’ appeal to “decriminalise incest between persons of legal age of consent, and grant people in adult consensual incestuous relationships the same right to marry as all other consenting adults.”

In January last year, members took one minute to throw out a similar submission, noting there was “no indication at all” of support for such a change.

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The petition submitted to Holyrood.

Morris is believed to be based in Australia and is unlikely to meet before MSPs when they consider the matter on Thursday. 
In a written statement he wrote: “Essentially, I am writing this to the Members of the Scottish Parliament, to tell you all how wrong you are about us, how badly people like us are misunderstood, and how ignorance and prejudice are effecting our lives.

“I do this because although many respond to us with disgust and fear, I believe we are a valid and essential contribution towards understanding human sexuality.”

Morris said he has previously written to the Queen, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the head of the BBC to discuss incest laws.

According to the Scottish Parliament’s website the petition received zero signatures.

The petition submitted to Holyrood.

This is the third petition on the decriminalisation of incest Morris has filed to the Parliament.

At the last hearing, Michael McMahon MSP, the then convener of Holyrood’s Public Petitions Committee said: “I recognise the petition addresses a subject matter that many people find abhorrent. Speaking personally, I take a similar view.

“However, all petitions that fall within the Committee’s rules must be given our open and transparent consideration.

“It will be for the Committee to decide if there can be any public interest in continuing this petition when we meet on Tuesday 26th January.”

The petition was swiftly dismissed by all committee members.

The Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995 is the main piece of legislation which regulates the law of incest in Scotland.