ILGA-Europe’s ‘Rainbow Europe Index 2015’ annual review places Scotland ahead of the rest of the UK and Europe on legal equality for LGBTI people.
Following the legalisation of same-sex marriage last year, Scotland now meets 92% of ILGA’s 48-point criteria for LGBTI equality and human rights legislation
Scotland was also ahead of rUK because of more progressive policies on intersex equality.
Equality campaigners welcome recognition but warn against complacency, saying “there is still much more to do to achieve full equality for LGBTI people in Scotland”
The Equality Network has welcomed the news that Scotland has been rated best country in Europe for LGBTI legal equality.
According to ILGA-Europe’s annual review of LGBTI equality and human rights laws across the continent, published today, Scotland now comes ahead of the rest of the UK and Europe in the legal protections offered to LGBTI people.
The ‘Rainbow Europe Index’ measures progress in European countries on LGBTI equality against a 48-point criteria that includes legal protections from discrimination in employment and services, measures to tackle hate crime, rights and recognition for transgender and intersex people, and equality in family law including same-sex marriage and parenting rights.
Following the legalisation of same-sex marriage last year, Scotland now meets 92% of ILGA Europe’s criteria, compared to 86% for the UK as a whole. The UK’s overall figure is brought down by lack of protections for intersex people in England and Wales, and Northern Ireland’s failure to respect LGBTI human rights in a range of areas including its refusal to legalise same-sex marriage.
The Equality Network welcomed the recognition, which it said was down to the Scottish Government and Parliament’s willingness to properly consult with LGBTI people, but also warned against complacency saying “there is still much more to do to achieve full equality for LGBTI people in Scotland”
Tom French, Policy and Public Affairs Coordinator for the Equality Network, said:“The fact that Scotland now ranks best in Europe overall on LGBTI legal equality is welcome recognition for the efforts of campaigners and the willingness of our politicians to properly consult with LGBTI people and then act on the evidence by passing progressive measures.
“However, the Equality Network warns against any complacency, as we know there is still much more to do to achieve full equality for LGBTI people in Scotland. As ILGA’s review shows there are still areas where Scotland is failing to respect LGBTI human rights and falling behind the progress in other countries, particularly when it comes to the rights of trans and intersex people.
“There is also a big difference between securing legal rights and full equality for LGBTI people in their everyday lives. Despite real progress in the law, LGBTI people in Scotland are still facing unacceptable levels of prejudice, discrimination and disadvantage throughout their lives.”
Scotland (92%) is joined in ILGA-Europe’s ranking of the top five countries for LGBTI legal equality by the rest of the UK (86%), Belgium (83%), Malta (77%), and Sweden (72%). The five countries ranked worst for LGBTI legal equality in Europe include Azerbaijan (5%), Russia (8%), Armenia (9%), Ukraine (10%) and Monaco (11%). With a few exceptions, the human rights of LGBTI people are better respected in Western Europe than Central Europe, and are least protected in Eastern Europe.
Last year the Equality Network launched its Equal Recognition campaign, which calls on the Scottish Government to ensure better legal protections for transgender and intersex people, which the charity says is now the main priority for improving LGBTI legal equality in Scotland.