Alex Salmond stated that he is to stand down as Scotland’s First Minister and Scottish National party leader.
Salmond who has been committed to equality legislation and promoting LGBTI rights announced his resignation after the Yes campaign failed to secure a majority in Thursday’s referendum.
Speaking to a press conference in his official residence of Bute House he said he would stand down as first minister in November when a new SNP leader will be elected.
Salmond said: “For me right now there is a decision as to who is best placed to lead this process forward politically.
“I believe that in this new exciting situation, redolent with possibility, party, parliament and country would benefit from new leadership”.
He said that he would not accept the SNP’s nomination to be a candidate for leader at the party’s annual conference in Perth in November, allowing a new party leader to be elected
Salmond has right from the start been committed to Equal Marriage legislation, equality in general and said he would enshrine LGBTI rights in a Scottish constitution should Scotland vote for independence.
Scotland’s LGBTI community would also remember him for his impassioned interview to KaleidoScot, in support of LGBTI rights and his decision to fly the rainbow flag over St. Andrew’s House during the commonwealth games.
Salmond has received praise for his dedication and work for LGBTI rights and Scottish politics from leading human rights campaigners and Scottish politicians.
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell praised Salmond’s heritage: “He has been a terrific supporter of LGBTI rights in recent months.
“During the Commonwealth Games, he flew the rainbow flag from government house, spoke out for LGBTI human rights, funded and visited Pride House and launched the One Scotland campaign which included LGBTI equality.
“No other UK national leader has been so forthright in supporting our community during a major international sporting event.
“Alex Salmond, together with everyone in the Yes campaign, deserves respect and credit for putting Scottish self-rule on the agenda and winning nearly half of Scottish voters for independence.
“They also deserve praise for reawakening mass political engagement and debate and creating an inspiring grassroots movement for democratic political reform.”
Out bisexual MSP of the Scottish Green Party Patrick Harvie paid tribute to Salmond, stating: “It’s no secret that the Scottish Green Party and I haven’t always agreed with Alex Salmond about a range of policy issues, but nobody in Scottish politics can doubt his commitment to the cause of Scottish independence, or the impact he has had not only within Scotland, but also on a movement which still has the potential to reshape politics throughout these islands.”
Out lesbian leader of the Scottish Conservative Party said that: “No-one can dispute his political achievements, nor fail to acknowledge his political gifts.
“While the referendum campaign has been hugely invigorating, by its very nature it has divided too.
“His decision to step down will help our country come back together again. … Scotland will benefit from his experience and service as we move forward.”
Commenting on the news, Tom French of the Equality Network said: “While the Equality Network is neutral on party politics, we want to say a huge heartfelt thank you to Alex Salmond for significantly advancing LGBTI rights in Scotland during his time as First Minister.
“Scotland is now a leader on LGBTI equality, and while more needs to be done, Alex Salmond should be incredibly proud of leading a government that has spoken out for LGBTI human rights, put in place some of the best hate crime legislation in Europe, and delivered one of the most progressive equal marriage laws in the world.”