Scottish politicians honoured for contributions to LGBT equality
Two Scottish politicians were honoured for their contribution to LGBT rights at an awards ceremony in London last night.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson was named politician of the year at the tenth annual PinkNews Awards for her contribution to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equal rights.
The first openly gay leader of a major British political party, Davidson was commended for having "broken new ground" by appearing with her partner in a political broadcast before the general election.
Former First Minister Alex Salmond was also given a lifetime achievement Ally Award in recognition of his early support for an equal age of consent and his role introducing equal marriage legislation.
Davidson said: "When I was born, you could still be prosecuted in Scotland for being in a loving, gay relationship. Now, those same couples who faced such prosecution are able to get married.
"This country has come so far in a relatively short period of time - and is all the better for it.
"But we're not there yet. Too many of our young people suffer homophobic bullying and many more are still forced into feelings of fear, guilt and shame about telling people who they are.
"I had no idea how to be gay in public when I was first elected. I've tried hard to always be an honest voice when asked about LGBT issues and to show myself and my relationships in an honest way.”
Scotland's new law on same-sex marriages came into effect last December after MSPs overwhelmingly backed the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill.
PinkNews chief executive Benjamin Cohen hailed Salmond’s influence in the legislation making its way through Holyrood.
“As the first party leader to back same-sex marriage in Scotland he continued his long record in fighting for LGBT+ rights,” said Cohen.
“Through his leadership, Scotland has equal marriage legislation that is considered the gold standard around the world.”
Salmond said Scotland has taken “huge strides towards becoming the fair and equal country that we all want to see” since he became an MP in the late 1980s.
“The creation of the Scottish Parliament has allowed us to change the law for the better and Scotland is now rated the most progressive in Europe for LGBTI rights.
“I was proud to lead the government which introduced one of the best equal marriage acts in the world.”