Laws

United Kingdom

SCOTLAND

See also: [Guernsey] [Isle of Man] [Jersey] [Northern Ireland] [United Kingdom]

Limited information only available for these topics

Access to Children
Adoption of Children
Age of Consent
Anti-Vilification
Annuities, Pensions
Artifical Insemination
Assisted Reproduction
Asylum / Refugees
Bullying
Censorship
Civil Unions
Custody of Children
Defamation
Discrimination
Estates, Wills
Fostering Children
Free Speech
Gender Identity
Harassment
Hate Crimes
Health, Medical
HIV, Aids
Homosexuality
Immigration
Incapacity
Incapacity
Inheritance, Succession
Insurance
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
Marriage
Medical Negligence
Military
Parenting
Partners
Pensions, Annuities
Privacy
Property
Sodomy
Surrogacy
Transgender, Transsexual
Violence
Wrongful Death
See also: Stonewall: Your Welcome! A guide for gay visitors to Britain PDF 2.04MB, 26 JUN 12
The Lesbian & Gay Foundation: A Guide to your rights PDF 1.88MB, 08 MAY 07

Please read the Disclaimer

Devolved Powers Reserved Powers

The affairs over which the Scottish Parliament has control are called devolved powers, and they include:

  • health
  • education and training
  • local government
  • law, including most aspects of criminal and civil law, the prosecution system and the courts
  • social work
  • housing
  • tourism and economic development
  • some aspects of transport, including the Scottish road network, bus policy, and ports and harbours
  • planning and the environment
  • agriculture, forestry and fishing
  • sport and the arts
  • miscellaneous matters, such as compiling statistics and keeping public records

The UK Parliament retains control over a whole range of national affairs. These are called reserved powers, and they include:

  • constitutional matters
  • UK defence and national security
  • UK foreign policy
  • immigration and nationality
  • UK economic and monetary policy (other than Scotland's tax-varying power)
  • energy: electricity, coal, gas and nuclear power
  • employment legislation
  • social security (the DWP - Department for Work and Pensions)
  • some aspects of transport, including railways, safety and regulation
  • regulation of certain professions such as medicine and dentistry
  • others, such as data protection, broadcasting, gambling and the National Lottery

The Scottish Parliament: Devolved and reserved matters explained

Age of Consent Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Scotland

On 01 December 2010, consensual sex between same-sex persons aged sixteen (16) years is lawful [L1.3].

The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 Part 4, Sections 18-41 set out circumstances where sexuality with a child is unlawful [L1.3].

On 19 January 2000, Nationalist MSPs joined forces with Scotland's Lib-Lab coalition to let Westminster change the age of consent for gay people to sixteen (16) years [R1.2].

In January 1999, the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons by 313 to 130 - a majority of 183. The Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill will introduce a 16 age limit in England, Scotland and Wales, and 17 in Northern Ireland if it becomes law [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 22 July 2003, a decision by the Scottish Appeal Court reportedly had the effect of lowering the age of consent for males - but not females - in Scotland to 14 [C2.2], [R2.1].

The Scottish government says it will legislate to restore an equal age of consent of 16.

L1.3 Legislation.gov.uk: Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 (Accessed 24 November 2013)
R1.2 The Daily Record & Sunday Mail: MSPs Back 16 as Age of Consent 20 JAN 00
R1.1 Stonewall: MPs Vote Yes to Gay Equality Again 25 JAN 99
C2.2 Webster v. Dominick 2003 SLT 975, 22 JUL 03
R2.1 B.News: Age of Consent in Scotland Cut to 14 09 OCT 03
Assisted Reproduction Technology
Artificial Insemination, In Vitro Fertilisation, Surrogacy
Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [CHILDREN] [PARENTING]
1.

Scotland

In November 2009, following legal action by one lesbian couple, the government set up an advisory group which was expected to recommend early next year that lesbians should be routinely allowed access to NHS fertility services [R1.2].

On 27 February 2009, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC) backed down after they were taken to court for refusing fertility treatment to lesbian couple Caroline Harris and Julie McMullan and decided to offer treatment to this couple [R1.1].

R1.2 PinkNews.co.uk: Scotland to give lesbians equal IVF rights 03 NOV 09
R1.1 PinkNews: Lesbian Couple's Victory Over NHS Fertility Treatment 27 FEB 09
Children: Access, Custody, Visitation Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [PARENTING]
1.

Scotland

In March 2003, a deceased mother's Will provided that "In the event of my death … I wish for my daughter to reside permanently with my sister. I wish all access rights currently exercised by her father to be respected" [R1.1].

After three court hearings the girl was given interim residency with her lesbian aunt [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 07 March 2002, Sheriff Laura Duncan in the Glasgow Sheriff Court reportedly awarded a 30-year-old gay man who fathered a child for a lesbian couple the same rights as a heterosexual father, ruling that a lesbian couple cannot constitute a family unit [C2.3], [R2.2]. C.f. Parenting [R2.1].

On 13 August 1999, Andrea Davies, 28, of Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire was reported to have been granted legal aid by the Scottish Legal Aid Board to fight for the right to visit the child of her former partner [R2.1].

R1.1 Daily Record: Girl, 6 Left to Lesbian in Will 06 MAR 03
C2.3 Pursuer against Defender in the Case of Child A 06 MAR 02
R2.2 BBC News: Gay Father Wins Landmark Ruling 07 MAR 02
R2.1 BBC Online: Lesbian Claims Visiting Rights 13 AUG 99
Civil Unions, Partners Legislation/Cases/Documents/References
See also: [ESTATES] [MARRIAGE]
2.

Scotland

On 05 December 2005, sames-sex couples could register a civil partnership, conferring on them the same rights as married couples, including – recognition for inheritance and succession to property, employment and pension benefits, social security and tax provisions, exemption from testifying in court against your partner, recognitions for immigration and nationality purposes, protection from domestic violence, recognition as the nearest relative, a duty to provide maintenance for your partner and any children [R1.4].

In 2003, the Scottish Executive planned to introduce a civil partnerships Bill, giving gay couples many of the same rights as married partners [R1.3].

In May 2002, Robin Harper, the Green MSP, won the backing of almost 20 MSPs in calling for the Scottish Executive to set up a national register of civic partnership which will allow gays, lesbians and unmarried couples protection under the law [R1.2].

In June 1999, Scotland's parliament granted travel allowances to the domestic partners of gay and straight members. Partners will be reimbursed for up to 12 journeys a year between their homes and Edinburgh [R1.1].

R1.4 Equality Network: Civil Partnership in Scotland (Accessed 19 DEC 11)
R1.3 Edinburgh Evening News: RC Church slams 'gay marriage' plan 01 NOV 03
R1.2 The Scotsman: Scotland to Approve Same-sex Weddings 09 MAY 02
R1.1 Capital Q: Scots Extend Benefits 16 JUL 99
Defamation, Insult, Libel, Slander Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

On 05 November 2012, Sheriff K J McGowan ruled in the Dunfermline Court that whilst 'deeply regrettable' Mark Bennett had not defamed George Cowan when Bennett referred to him as a "gay painter" at weekly meetings of a business network and allegedly defaced his business cards [C1.2], [R1.1]

C1.2 Opinion: George Cowan v. Mark Bennett A218/11, 05 NOV 12
R1.1 GayStarNews: 'Gay painter' jibe not defamation rules Scottish court 07 NOV 12
Discrimination Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Scotland

On 01 October 2010, the Equality Act came into force. The Act covers age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex (meaning gender) and sexual orientation. Under the act people are not allowed to discriminate, harass or victimise another person because they belong to a group that the Act protects, they are thought to belong to one of those groups or are associated with someone who does [R1.4].

Previously:

The Equality Bill imposes an equality duty upon public bodies, and private bodies that deliver a public function, requiring consideration of the needs of everyone who uses their services or works for them. It is expected to come into force in Autum 2010.

The new legislation will generally apply in Scotland and Wales as well as in England. The Socio-economic Duty applies to England and Wales only. In a number of areas the Bill provides powers to Scottish and Welsh Ministers.

One of these is the power for Scottish Ministers to impose specific public sector equality duties on Scottish bodies and for Welsh Ministers to do likewise for Welsh bodies [R1.3].

On 15 November 1999, MSPs were expected to vote on new legislation which would give gay couples the same rights as hetero-sexuals, allowing gay couples to receive common-law status in the event of separation or death [R1.2].

On 10 December 1999, Justice Minister Jim Wallace said that a clause to alter the rights of homosexuals looking after physically or mentally handicapped partners to bring them into line with heterosexuals would be inserted into the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Bill currently going through Parliament. It will allow homosexuals to be legally treated as the "nearest relative" for the first time. Ministers were also studying proposals to extend to homosexual couples the same tenancy rights in council homes as heterosexuals [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 11 June 2014, Sheriff Bryson in the Glasgow Sheriff Court ruled that G1 Group had unlawfully discriminated against disabled couple Nathan and Robert Gale by refusing them entry to the Polo Lounge on the ground that there were no disabled facilities. The court awarded the couple £2,000 in compensation [C2.3], [R2.2].

On 04 April 2012, lesbian policewoman PC Tracey West won her sexual orientation discrimination case before employment judge Raymond Williamson against her sergeant Michael Service. Sgt Service was ordered to pay her £7,500. Her former employers, Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary, must pay her £2,500 [R2.1].

R1.4 PinkNews: Equality Act comes into force 01 OCT 10
R1.3 PinkNews.co.uk: New bill aims to entrench gay rights in all aspects of public life: Analysis 27 APR 09
R1.2 Daily Record and Sunday Mail: MSPs Set for Gay Rights Vote 15 NOV 99
R1.1 ElectronicTelegraph: Gays to be Given Equal Rights on Tenancies 10 DEC 99
C2.3 Case: Nathan Gale v. G1 Group Plc SE526/13, 11 JUN 14
R2.2 PinkNews: Disabled couple win discrimination case after being refused entry to Glasgow gay bar 11 JUN 14
R2.1 PinkNews: Lesbian PC wins discrimination case 04 APR 10
See also: Equality and Human Rights Commission

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Estates, Incapacity, Inheritance, Property, Succession Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Scotland

Cohabiting couples, whatever their sexual orientation, have the same property rights as married couples [R1.2].

In May 2000, the Parliament passed the Adults with Incapacity Bill giving same-sex couples the right to be consulted on the affairs of a partner who becomes incapacitated [R1.1].

R1.2 The Sunday Telegraph: What Price Marriage? 04 JUN 06
R1.1 Melbourne Star Observer: Scottish Parliament Recognises Gay Couples 12 MAY 00
Gender Identity, Intersex,
Transgender, Transexual

[?]
Legislation/Documents/Cases/References
See also: [HATE CRIMES] [MARRIAGE] [VIOLENCE]
1.

Scotland

On 16 January 2014, the Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee unanimously approved an amendment to remove the spousal veto from the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill, meaning that married, transgender Scots will no longer be required to obtain written consent from their spouse before they can get legal recognition of their gender identity [R1.3].

On 18 July 2012, the Scottish Government reportedly released a new protocol under which treatment will be faster and more flexible, with guaranteed minimum standards of care. It will also be easier for trans people to approach gender clinics directly, be prescribed hormones and take charge of the direction of their treatment [D1.2], [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 06 March 2013, Chris Wilson, a transgender Scottish man, admitted to obtaining sexual intimacy by fraud in failing to tell two teenage girls his gender history and real age. Judge Lord Bannatyne will sentence Wilson in the Edinburgh High Court after the court obtains reports [R2.16].

R1.3 LGBTQ Nation: Scottish parliament removes transgender spousal veto from marriage equality bill 17 JAN 14
D1.2 Scottish Government: Gender Reassignment Protocol CEL 26 (2012) PDF 134.12kb, 11 JUL 12
R1.1 PinkNews: New protocol puts more power in the hands of Scottish trans people 18 JUL 12
R2.16 GayStarNews: Man 'guilty' of fraud for not telling girlfriend he was trans UK 07 MAR 13
Hate Crimes Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [GENDER IDENTITY]
1.

Scotland

On 24 March 2010, The Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Act 2009 became law in Scotland [R1.7].

In June 2009, the Scottish Parliament passed The Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Act 2009 to protect gay, trans and disabled people from hate crime [R1.6].

Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill said that extending hate crime laws to protect LGBT people and the disabled will send out a "clear message" that such crimes cannot be tolerated. The Bill put forward by Green MSP Patrick Harvie that would mean courts must take into account motivation when sentencing. Racial and religious motives are already covered by the law [R1.5].

The Act was expected to come into effect in March 2010 [R1.4].

In September 2008, the Sentencing of Offences Aggravated by Prejudice (Scotland) Bill proposed by Patrick Harvie, a Scottish Green MSP, last year was expected to become law in 2009. The new legislation would allow Scotland's courts to impose tougher sentences for offences aggravated by the victim's disability, gender identity or sexual orientation [R1.3].

In June 2008, legislators in Edinburgh in Scotland were accused of "playing politics" after weeks of delays to the Sentencing of Offences Aggravated by Prejudice (Scotland) Bill, a new hate crime bill that bring Scotland into line with England and Wales, where courts can impose tougher sentences for offences committed due to the victims disability or sexual orientation [R1.2].

As at 03 October 2008, Scotland did not have specific hate crime legislation for sexual orientation, although extended sentences for racial or religious prejudice was allowed [R1.1].

R1.7 The Advocate: Hate-Crimes Expansion Protects LGBT Scots 24 March 2010
R1.6 PinkNews.co.uk: Scottish parliament passes hate crime law to protect gays 04 JUN 09
R1.5 PinkNews: Scottish hate crimes law to be extended to cover anti-gay crimes 18 MAR 09
R1.4 PinkPaper.com: What will hate crime legislation mean for you? 26 FEB 10
R1.3 PinkNews.co.uk: MSP Confident That Hate Crimes Bill Will Be Law Next Year 02 SEP 08
R1.2 PinkNews.co.uk: Anger at Scottish Parliament Delay in Hate Crimes Bill 09 JUN 08
R1.1 Gay.com: Northern Ireland to Get New Gay-protecting Laws 03 OCT 03
Health, Medical Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 08 September 2011, the BBC reported that government ministers had agreed to allow men in England, Scotland, and Wales who have sex with men (MSM) to donate blood if they have not engaged in oral or anal sexual activity with or without a condom within the past 12 months, effective on 07 November [R1.3], [R1.2].

Previously

Both the Scottish Blood Transfusion Service and the National Blood Service (England and Wales) bar gay and bisexual men from donating blood for life [R1.1].

In January 2010 a gay man whose mother died from cancer called for a change in the law after he was reportedly prevented from donating blood to help her [R1.1].

R1.3 The Advocate: UK to Lift Lifetime Ban on Gay Blood Donors 08 SEP 11
R1.2 GiveBlood: Why we ask men who have sex with men not to give blood SEP 11
R1.1 PinkNews.co.uk: Gay son prevented from donating blood to dying mother 04 JAN 10
HIV, Aids Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [HEALTH, MEDICAL]
1.

Courts & Tribunals

On 16 March 2001, Judge Lord Mackay was reported to have found a Scottish man found guilty of reckless conduct for infecting a former girlfriend with HIV, sentencing Friday to five years in jail for the crime [R1.1].

R1.1 The Advocate: Scottish Man Gets Five Years for Failing to Disclose HIV Status to Girlfriend 20 MAR 00
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [AGE OF CONSENT]
1.

Scotland

As at 30 January 2003, offences such as buggery, gross indecency and soliciting by men remain in place in Scotland unless the Scottish Executive decides to order a review [R1.4].

On 21 June 2000, Members of the Scottish Parliament voted 99 to 17 with two abstentions to abolish the Section 28 law barring the promotion of homosexuality, effective upon Royal Assent in July [R1.3].

On 28 October 1999, the Scottish parliament was expected to vote early new year on scrapping a controversial law banning schools from promoting homosexuality [R1.2].

In 1980, Scotland (and Northern Ireland) came into line with England and Wales in decriminalising homesexuality. Jersey decriminalised homosexuality in 1990 [R1.1].

In 1967 the government of Harold Wilson decriminalised homosexuality in England and Wales at age 21 years [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

In April 2009, a court in Scotland fined a mother £250 for shouting homophobic abuse at her 16 year old son [R2.1].

R1.4 The Herald: North-South Divide Over Gay Sex Attacked 30 JAN 03
R1.3 BBC Online News: MSPs Abolish Section 28 21 JUN 00
R1.2 The Guardian: Scotland to Scrap Gay Law 29 OCT 99
R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia Note 125 PDF 382.87kb, MAY 2008
R2.1 PinkNews.co.uk: Mum fined for homophobic abuse of her son 22 APR 09
Marriage Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Scotland

On 13 March 2014, the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act received Royal Assent. Amendments still need to be made to the UK Equality Act to enable the first marriages in Scotland by the end of this year [R1.17].

On 04 February 2014, the Scottish Parliament passed the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill in a 105-18 vote. The Bill will take effect with Royal Assent [R1.16].

On 16 January 2014, the Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee unanimously approved an amendment to remove the spousal veto from the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill, meaning that married, transgender Scots will no longer be required to obtain written consent from their spouse before they can get legal recognition of their gender identity [R1.15].

On 20 November 2013, Members of Scottish Parliament voted 98-15 in favor of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill. A final 1st stage vote and two further stages must be passed before the Bill goes to the Queen for signature. Under the Bill transgender people will be able to stay married, rather than having to get divorced, when obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate, religious organizations will need to 'opt in' to perform same-sex marriages, and any individual celebrants will be able to refuse to carry out weddings for gay couples [R1.14].

On 08 November 2013, the Equal Opportinties Committee released the Stage 1 report on the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill backing the introduction of the legislation. The Scottish Parliament Stage One vote on the principle of the bill is expected in the week starting 18 November with a Stage 3 vote likely in January or February [D1.13], [R1.12].

On 13 September 2013, trans groom Felix Fenton married trans bride Helen Fenton at Gretna Green, Scotland, in what is thought to be the first double swap transgender wedding in the UK [R1.11].

On 27 June 2013, the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill to allow same-sex couples to marry was published by the Scottish Government [L1.10], [R1.9].

On 12 December 2012, the Scottish Government released the consultation draft Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill [L1.8], [R1.7].

On 25 July 2012, the Scottish Government announced that in late 2012 it would introduce a draft bill permitting same-sex marriage, which if passed would allow marriage early in 2015 [R1.6].

On 16 July 2012, the Scottish government ruled out a referendum on the proposed introduction of same-sex marriage. A decision on whether to bring forward a bill on same-sex marriage would be made before the end of July [R1.5].

On 08 April 2012, the Scottish Government rejected marriage equality pleas from gay couples, claiming that current laws do not need to be reformed [R1.4A].

On 17 March 2011, a report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) [R1.4] to the Scottish Government says that current law preventing same-sex marriage discriminates against gay people and is not supported by public polls [R1.3].

In April 2010, the Scottish Government rejected marriage equality pleas from gay couples, claiming that current laws do not need to be reformed. The comments follows the passing of the controversial Equality Bill through Westminster, which will allow couples in England and Wales to have their civil partnership in religious venues [R1.2].

In March 2009, the Public Petitions committee asked the Scottish Parliament to review the Marriage Act with regard to gay marriage [R1.1].

In Scotland, on account of differences in marriage law, the grant of an interim gender recognition certificate will provide a ground for divorce, rather than make the marriage voidable [R1.0].

See also: GENDER IDENTITY.

R1.17 GayStarNews: Queen signs gay marriage into law in Scotland 14 MAR 14
R1.16 GayStarNews: Victory: Gay marriage now legal in Scotland 04 FEB 14
R1.15 LGBTQ Nation: Scottish parliament removes transgender spousal veto from marriage equality bill 17 JAN 14
R1.14 GayStarNews: Scotland says yes in crucial vote on gay marriage 20 NOV 13
D1.13 Report: Equal Opportunities Committee Stage 1 report on the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill PDF 2.81MB, 08 NOV 13
R1.12 PinkNews: Scottish Equal Opportunities Committee approves equal marriage bill 08 NOV 13
R1.11 GayStarNews: Trans groom marries trans bride in Scotland 16 SEP 13
L1.10 Bill: Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill [As introduced] PDF 1.23MB, 26 JUN 13
R1.9 STV News: Same-sex marriage legislation published by Scottish Government 27 JUN 13
L1.8 Consultation draft: Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill PDF 326.07kb, 12 DEC 12
R1.7 The Scotsman: Scotland first in UK to draft a same-sex marriage Bill 13 DEC 12
R1.6 Scottish Government: Same sex marriage to be legalised 25 JUL 12
R1.5 BBC News: Scottish government rules out same-sex marriage referendum 17 JUL 12
R1.4A PinkPaper: Scottish government trash further marriage equality plans 08 APR 10
R1.4 Equality & Human Rights Commission: Equal Access to Marriage: Ending the segregation of same-sex couples and transgender people in Scotland PDF 622.18kb, 04 MAR 11
R1.3 PinkNews: Scottish government advised to legalise gay marriage 17 MAR 11
Equality & Human Rights Commission: New Scottish Government called upon to address Equal Marriage for same sex couples 17 MAR 11
R1.2 365Gay.com: Scottish government trash further marriage equality plans 08 APR 10
R1.1 PinkNews.co.uk: Scottish Parliament asked to review Marriage Act 18 MAR 09
R1.0 PinkNews.co.uk: German Court Rules Forced Divorces for Trans People Unconstitutional 24 JUL 08
Medical Negligence, Wrongful Death Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [HEALTH, MEDICAL]
1.

Scotland

Under Scottish law cohabiting same-sex couples do not have the right to claim damages for grief, distress, or sorrow and loss of financial support if their partner dies because of someone else's negligence [L1.1], [R1.1].

The Damages (Scotland) Act 1976, covers two kinds of loss - patrimonial and non-patrimonial. Patrimonial loss covers loss of financial support, while non-patrimonial involves intangible losses such as grief and distress.

The Scottish Law Commission has recommended that the law be amended.

L1.1 Damages (Scotland) Act 1976
R1.1 The Herald: Equality Urged for Gays on Damages 09 AUG 02
Military Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

On 28 September 2000, The Hon Lord Johnston in the employment appeals tribunal, Edinburgh found in favour of Roderick Macdonald, an RAF officer who was forced to leave the forces following the disclosure of his homosexuality, rejecting the decision of the earlier tribunal, allowing Macdonald to receive compensation [R1.1]

Lord Johnston applied the Sex Discrimination Act to sexual orientation - the first time ever in a British court. Because the tribunal is a unified court, the decision stands as an immediate precedent throughout Britain.

R1.1 Law.com: Gay Rights Employment Breakthrough as MoD Lose 28 SEP 00
Parenting, Adoption, Fostering Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Scotland

As from 28 September 2009, gay couples are permitted to adopt children together under the Adoption & Children (Scotland) Act 2007 [R1.4].

In April 2009, Children's Minister, Adam Ingram, announced that the Scottish Government would introduce regulations to make it easier for gay couples to jointly adopt children [R1.3].

In February 2009, a Scottish heroin addict's two children were to be adopted by a gay couple after social services ruled that their grandparents were unsuitable to look after them [R1.2].

In April 2004 and again in June 2005, Scotland was thought likely to overhaul its adoption laws, with same-sex couples being given the right to adopt together for the first time [R1.1].

Although lesbian and gay people are allowed to adopt children under Scottish law, they cannot do it as a couple or register their child with both parents.

It is thought the update is to bring Scotland in line with the rest of the mainland UK, where adoption by same-sex couples was made legal in 2003.

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 17 March 2014, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator announced it would not be appealing the Scottish Charity Appeals Panel ruling in favour of the St Margaret's Children and Family Care Society, allowing it to refuse adoptions by same-sex couples [R2.8].

On 31 January 2014, the Scottish Charity Appeals Panel overturned the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator finding that St Margaret's Children and Family Care Society was in breach of the Equality Act 2010 by discriminating against same-sex couples [C2.7], [R2.6].

On 05 March 2013, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator upheld the ruling that the St Margaret's Children and Family Care Society policy of excluding gay couples from their adoption system was unlawful discrimination. Subject to a right of appeal to the Scottish Charities Appeal Panel, non-compliance by 22 April could see the Society removed from the Scottish Charites Register [C2.5], [R2.4].

On 22 January 2013, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator finds the St Margaret's Children and Family Care Society is operating in breach of the Equality Act 2010: the criteria it applies to people who enquire about assessment as prospective adoptive parents discriminate unlawfully against same sex couples [C2.3], [R2.2].

On 19 March 2002, Sheriff Noel McPartlin at Edinburgh Sheriff Court ruled that lesbian couple Pam and Natalie have the same parental rights as heterosexuals and are considered a family unit by the courts [R2.1]. C.f. Children [C2.3], [R2.2]

R1.4 PinkNews.co.uk: Scottish gay couples to be allowed to adopt next week 22 SEP 09
R1.3 PinkNews.co.uk: Adoption and fostering by gay couples to become easier in Scotland 22 APR 09
R1.2 MCV: Gay adoption storm in UK 05 FEB 09
R1.1 MCV: Scotland Ok's Gay Parenting 17 JUN 05
Gay.com UK: Scotland to update adoption laws; gay couples to benefit 14 APR 04
Courts & Tribunals
R2.8 PinkNews: Scottish Catholic adoption agency given green light to continue discriminating against gays 17 MAR 14
C2.7 Decision: St Margaret's Children and Family Care Society v. Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator APP 02/13 PDF 4.06MB, 31 JAN 14
R2.6 GayStarNews: Scottish anti-gay adoption agency wins appeal to keep charity status 01 FEB 14
C2.5 OCSR Report: St Margaretís Children and Family Care Society PDF 325kb, 05 MAR 13
R2.4 PinkNews: Ruling upheld that Scottish Catholic charity must accept adoption applications from gay couples 06 MAR 13
C2.3 OSCR: St Margaret's Children and Family Care Society: Scottish charity number SC028551 PDF 181.70kb, 22 JAN 13
R2.2 EveningTimes: Adoption agency 'is discriminating' 24 JAN 13
R2.1 The Herald: Family Victory for Lesbian Couple 08 APR 02
Violence, Bullying, Domestic Violence, Harassment, Vilification Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [HATE CRIME]
1.

Scotland

On 06 September 2011, law lecturer Brian Dempsey reportedly said that the definition of domestic abuse as an offence perpetrated by men against women does "serious damage" to gay and transgendered people suffering violence in the home [R2.1].

The official definition states: "Domestic abuse (as gender-based abuse), can be perpetrated by partners or ex partners and can include physical abuse (assault and physical attack involving a range of behaviour), sexual abuse (acts which degrade and humiliate women [emphasis added] and are perpetrated against their will, including rape) and mental and emotional abuse …" [R1.1].

R1.1 CumbernauldNews: Definition of abuse 'should change' 06 SEP 11

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