Scots activists disappointed over hate crime bill

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Stonewall Scotland has criticised the Scottish government for failing to make progress on hate crimes legislation.

The Scottish National Party-led administration has been in power since May.

The nationalists made a manifesto commitment to introduce legislation that would punish crimes motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, unveiled his legislative programme yesterday, with 11 proposed bills covering the economy, health and justice.

“The law as it stands sends the message that attacks based on homophobia, transphobia or disability are somehow less serious than those motivated by racial or religious hatred,” Stonewall Scotland’s director, Calum Irving, told

“We are disappointed that despite manifesto commitments from the SNP, Lib Dems and Greens, Scotland is once again being allowed to fall behind the rest of the UK in terms of hate crime legislation.

“A modern Scotland should be a country which makes clear that anti-gay hate is wrong and will be tackled with the full force of the law.”

Mr Salmond’s proposed legislation will need votes from opposition parties to become law.

There was broad support for new laws on sexual offences, which will widen the definition of rape in an attempt to deal with the low number of convictions.

Scottish Law Commission will report to the Scottish Executive on the new legislation, and it is thought they will recommend introducing an “active” model of consent, where all sexual activity is fully consensual, among other changes.

“We welcome the Government’s announcement of reform of sexual offences today but would urge the Government to find the earliest opportunity to legislate against the anti-gay attacks that are still too prevalent in Scotland today,” Mr Irving said.