The highly respected International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (IGLA) has named Scotland as the top European country for legal LGBTI rights.
IGLA is an association of 1100 organisations from 110 countries around the world, campaigning for IGLA rights.
The 2015 IGLA ‘Rainbow Index’, which judges nations on legal rights fo LGBTI people against 48 standards of criteria, placed Scotland with 92%, compared to 86% for the UK as a whole.
The criteria nations are measured by include legal protections from discrimination in work and services, measures to tackle hate crime, rights and recognition for transgender and intersex people, and equality in family law including same-sex marriage and parenting rights.
The Scottish LGBTI charity, Equality Network, released the news on Sunday, 10 March, stating that it was their belief that the success was largely down to the devolved Scottish Parliament’s willingness to engage with the Scots LGBTI community over matters of legislation. Scotland’s LGBTI laws include same-sex marriage under the Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Scotland) Act, 2014, which had cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament and only came into Scots Law on 31 December 2014, after a long consultation with Equality Network. The result was some of the most LGBTI-inclusive marriage legislation in the world.
Equality Network also stated that the rest of the UK fared poorer due to inadequate provision for intersex people in English and Welsh legislation, and Northern Ireland’s “failure to respect LGBTI human rights in a range of areas including its refusal to legalise same-sex marriage”
Equality Network’s Policy and public affairs coordinator, Tom French, welcomed the news but also cautioned that there is still room for improvement.
“The fact that Scotland now ranks best in Europe overall on LGBTI legal equality is welcome recognition for the efforts of campaigners and the willingness of our politicians to properly consult with LGBTI people and then act on the evidence by passing progressive measures,” Tom French stated, “However, the Equality Network warns against any complacency, as we know there is still much more to do to achieve full equality for LGBTI people in Scotland. As ILGA’s review shows there are still areas where Scotland is failing to respect LGBTI human rights and falling behind the progress in other countries, particularly when it comes to the rights of trans and intersex people.”
He concluded, “There is also a big difference between securing legal rights and full equality for LGBTI people in their everyday lives. Despite real progress in the law, LGBTI people in Scotland are still facing unacceptable levels of prejudice, discrimination and disadvantage throughout their lives.”
Scotland now takes pride of place at the top of the IGLA European table, with the rest of the UK on 86%, Belgium on 83%, Malta on 77%, and Sweden on 72%.
The lowest countries for LGBTI rights are Azerbaijan (5%), Russia (8%), Armenia (9%), Ukraine (10%) and Monaco (11%).