A huge win for the LGBTQ+ community in Scotland.
According to a report from the BBC, the Scottish Parliament has passed a bill that fights against hate crimes towards the LGBTQ+ community.
The inclusive bill passed by an 82 to 32 vote this past Thursday after a prolonged debate.
The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill will define offences as “aggravated” – which in turn will affect the sentencing process – if the offence was committed because of someone’s sexual orientation, transgender identity, race, age, or disability.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf expressed his excitement with the bill, stating: “I am delighted Holyrood has backed this powerful legislation that is fitting for the Scotland we live in.”
He continued: “Parliament has sent a strong and clear message to victims, perpetrators, communities and to wider society that offences motivated by prejudice will be treated seriously and will not be tolerated.”
The bill has also created new offences of “stirring up hatred” and throws out the offence of blasphemy.
Stonewall Scotland took to Twitter to praise the parliaments decision, stating: “We are delighted that MSPs have tonight passed the Hate Crime Bill.
“With hate crimes rising against LGBT people we hope the passing of this bill sends a clear signal that hatred towards marginalised groups including LGBT people, is not tolerated in Scotland.”
We are delighted that MSPs have tonight passed the Hate Crime Bill. With hate crimes rising against LGBT people we hope the passing of this Bill sends a clear signal that hatred towards marginalised groups, including LGBT people, is not tolerated in Scotland.
— Stonewall Scotland (@StonewallScot) March 11, 2021
Although this is a huge win for minorities and marginalized communities, the bill has faced its fair share of criticism and changes.
Some political officials have expressed their concerns about the bill taking away the freedom of speech.
But according to the BBC, during this Wednesday debate, two amendments were unanimously passed to give more protection of freedom of speech.
“To those who think they may accidentally somehow fall foul of the law… because they believe sex is immutable, or they believe an adult man cannot become a female or they campaign for the rights of Palestinians… or those that proselytise that same-sex relationships are sinful, none of these people would fall foul of the stirring up of hatred offence for solely stating their belief – even if they did so in a robust manner,” Yousaf stated.
Another issue that some officials had with the bill was its exclusion of protection in regards to sex.
Scottish Labour party member, Joann Lamot, expressed her disappointment with the legislation and its failure to include protection for women that endure violence and abuse.
Neil Bibby, a fellow Scottish Labour agreed with Lamont’s worries but also expressed the need for the bill in regards to the protection of minorities and the rise of hate crimes in society.