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Scotland poll: three in five gays face hate

Major poll reveals homophobia and transphobia widespread in Scotland but a majority of Scots support same-sex marriage
Ancient Edinburgh wishes to be seen as the capital of a modern country but Stonewall Scotland poll reveals widespread homophobia.

A poll of 1,968 people conducted by YouGov for Stonewall Scotland has revealed that three in five people believe that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Scots face public prejudice in Scotland today.

But more than four in five in Scotland say it’s right to tackle that prejudice.

The poll reported, Living Together Scotland 2012, shows that two thirds of people support same-sex marriage including half of people of faith. That issue is currently being considered by the Scottish government with an announcement due on 10 July about whether they will push forwards with equal marriage legislation.

The YouGov poll also shows that in the last five years 162,000 Scots of working age have witnessed verbal homophobic or transphobic bullying in the workplace and 54,000 Scots of working age have witnessed physical homophobic or transphobic bullying in the workplace.

And 58% of people aged 18 to 29 say there was homophobic bullying in their school.

Colin Macfarlane, director of Stonewall Scotland said: ‘We pride ourselves in being seen as a nation of tolerance and respect but this poll only highlights that for thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Scots the reality is very different.

'We only have to look at some of the deeply offensive comments made by senior clerics about gay people recently – likening loving same-sex relationships to polygamy and calling them grotesque- to see that prejudice still remains in some quarters.

‘Thankfully, the research shows that the majority of Scots say this sort of behavior is not good enough and they want to see it tackled. There is a long way to go before we can say 21st century Scotland is truly tolerant but it is clear that people expect brave and bold leadership to transform Scotland into the kind of country we can be proud of and want to live in.’

The poll shows solid and increasing support in Scotland for marriage equality, with previous polls showing similar figures of 61% (2010) and 64% (June 2012).

The public consultation by the Scottish government on same-sex marriage closed in December with over 50,000 responses, making it by far the biggest consultation in the history of the Scottish Parliament. The results were originally due to be published in March, and then delayed to June.

The delays and have been criticised across the Scottish political spectrum and media.

Patrick Harvie MSP, Leader of the Scottish Green Party raised a pointed of order with the Scottish Government last Wednesday regarding the announcement to which the SNP administration now firmly committed the date of 10 of July.

Harvie stated: ‘Time after time, public support for equal marriage has been shown to be strong in Scotland. Those who want the law to keep treating same-sex couples as second class citizens are in the wrong, and in the minority. It’s time now to press ahead with this overdue change in the law.’ 

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