The Green MSP Patrick Harvie put forward in 2008 legislation which would put Scotland in line with the rest of the UK in terms of coverage for members of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) hate crimes. Today this extended coverage was unanimously approved in the Scottish Parliament in the form of the Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Act. The definition of hate crime provided by the Home Office is “A hate crime is any criminal offence that is motivated by hostility or prejudice based upon the victim’s disability, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, or transgender. “ Sadly, Glasgow, my home city has a history of hate crime, from sectarianism to bullying people for their sexual orientation. According to a report provided by Stonewall, a large numbe of LGBT people have suffered some form of abuse, ranging from verbal abuse to intimidation and beatings.
I welcome and support this legislation on a personal lavel and also because The Church of Scotland has long been against discrimination and attacks that specifically target people’s identity, irrespective of whether the crime was motivated by sexual orientation, gender or ethnicity. From a Christian perspective such discrimination and harassment is morally wrong as well as being unlawful.