In June 2009, a law on homophobic and transphobic hate crime was finally passed in Scotland. We will build on the campaigning work we have done for this new Scottish legislation and will work with the police and others to ensure the implementation of the bill is successful, raise public awareness of what constitutes a hate crime in collaboration with the police and help ensure the safety of all LGBT people in Scotland.
We will continue to find new ways of challenging homophobia in schools and colleges and underachievement by lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils through development of the Education for All programme in Scotland. We will work hard to raise awareness of the problem calling on politicians and teachers to speak out and raise standards through local government and the teaching profession.
We will continue to develop our work with major employers in public, private and voluntary sectors through our Diversity Champions Scotland programme. We will increase the number of employers participating in the Workplace Equality Index and provide advice and support to enable employers to make real progress, backed up by our good practice seminars and annual workplace conference. We will expand our work on encouraging leadership development and will continue to raise awareness of the real and current issues still faced by LGBT people. For more information, click here.
Stonewall Scotland's Good Practice Programme helps public services improve their policy and practice towards LGBT people using their services. We will continue to expand this highly valued work with public services, including local authorities, emergency forces and colleges to develop best practice guidance and learning resources. For more information, click here.
We are delighted that the Scottish Government has launched the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill. The Bill intends to extend the legal form of marriage to same-sex couples and to remove practices that negatively impact on transgendered individuals in Scotland. We are currently working on our consultation response and look to publish this in the coming weeks. A copy of the Bill can be found here and the consultation period extends until the 20th March 2013.
The strength of feeling and volume of responses to the first consultation on Equal Marriage in 2011 showed just how important this issue is to the people of Scotland. It is as important now as it was then for the people to talk directly to their politicians.
All four of the major Scottish political parties have publicly declared their support for equal marriage; however recent deeply offensive comments comparing marriage equality with slavery, child abuse, polygamy and bestiality clearly show that we still face significant opposition. We are therefore urging all supporters of equal marriage to get involved in our campaign. Please act now! For more information about the campaign for Equal Marriage, click here.