9 stories that show why we love Scotland

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To celebrate the first same-sex weddings at 00:01 on Hogmanay, PinkNews takes a look back at the nine best stories to come out of Scotland this year.

It’s been a big year for Scotland, from passing equal marriage to the independence vote. We take a look at the highs and the lows.

1. A gay flamingo couple adopted a baby at Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo’s famous panda Tian Tian had competition for the nation’s hearts this year, after a pair of gay Chilean flamingos rescued a baby chick that fell out of its nest.

Zookeeper Colin Oulton said: “We’ve been able to utilise these male male bonds and it’s working out fairly well. Male male pairs are equally able to rear youngsters.”

2. John Barrowman redefined the meaning of the ‘Glasgow Kiss’
We can’t forget this iconic moment during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, when John Barrowman paid tribute to marriage equality in Scotland with a ‘new Glasgow kiss’

Homosexuality is still punishable with prison sentences in 42 out of 54 Commonwealth nations – most of whom broadcast the kiss live on TV.

3. A rainbow appeared over Edinburgh during the final equal marriage vote

While Holyrood was giving its final approval to Scotland’s equal marriage bill back in February, a rainbow appeared in the sky over Edinburgh.

It turned out to be a good omen for equality, with MSPs voting 105 to 18 in favour, during a free vote.

4. Section 28 backer Brian Souter said he’d now accept a gay child

Stagecoach boss Brian Souter – who funded the ‘Keep the Clause’ campaign in 2000 to argue against the repeal of Section 28 – insisted he is not homophobic.

He said: “[I support] the traditional marriage-based family, and I’m afraid that stance gets interpreted as being homophobic.”

Mr Souter added: “Yes, I do [have gay friends]”, before claiming he wouldn’t mind if one of his children were gay

5. The independence dilemma was re-imagined as a gay romantic comedy

Back in September, as the country prepared to vote on independence, filmmaker Bob Denham launched a skit featuring ‘Scott’ and ‘Adrian’, two lovers on the verge of breaking up.

Though Scotland ultimately rejected Independence by 55% to 45%, viewers voted in favour of Scott breaking up with Adrian, by 1505 to 1100.

6. Grindr users predicted the result of the referendum

A poll conducted on Grindr came closer to the actual result than most actual pollsters managed.

While pollsters were forecasting a tight 51%-49% result, Grindr user Tom Court’s poll of 655 users found a 54%-46% split.

7. PinkNews launched PinkNews.Scot

Okay, so this one is slightly blowing our own trumpets – but to mark the independence vote, PinkNews made a major commitment to unify our Scottish content in one place.

PinkNews publisher Benjamin Cohen said: “However our hundreds of thousands of readers north of the border vote today, PinkNews is 100% committed to continuing as the most read LGBT publication in Scotland.

“That is why we are today announcing the launch of PinkNews.scot, taking our Scottish readers direct to the latest news from Scotland.”

8. An SNP advisor gave up politics to become a drag queen in London

Nathan Sparling was an advisor to MSP Aileen Campbell – but he hung up his lanyard and put on his heels after the independence vote, to take his drag act Nancy Clench to London.

Aileen Campbell said: “I wish Nathan and Nancy well on their move to London. Swapping the Clydesdale constituency office for the city lights will bring new and exciting opportunities.”

9. A by-election candidate pledged to ‘easily’ stop same-sex marriage

Independent candidate Philip Mitchell made the claim in a leaflet ahead of the Troup by-election this month – triggered by the death of Conservative councillor John Duncan.

He wrote: “If elected, I pledge to easily veto (with clear-lawfulness taking precedence over voting) Aberdeenshire Council Registrars from fraudulently issuing certificates of Marriage.”

Check out PinkNews.Scot for all our Scotland coverage of the past year!