As part of our celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex plus (LGBTI+) History Month, we have put together an official publications reading list which highlights the history of LGBTI+ rights in Scotland.
As a whole, the materials provide a valuable historical and sociological primary resource on the changing attitudes towards LGBTI+ issues through the years. The list illustrates the type of material available in the Maps, Official Publications and Statistics Unit on Level 7 of the library.
Selected legislation and consultations
1885: Male same-sex sexual acts are a criminal offence carrying a prison sentence. Hard labour was not applied to the sentence in Scotland. Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885, s. 11. (c. 69). (Also known as the Labouchere Amendment).
1976: The Labouchere Amendment is re-enacted in Scotland. In 1957, the Wolfenden Report recommends that same-sex sexual acts in private with males over the age of 21 should be legalised. In 1967, English law is amended to this effect. The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 1976 means that male same-sex acts continue to be illegal in Scotland. Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 1976, s. 7. (c. 67)
1977: Same-sex marriage is prevented under the legal impediment clause; “there is a legal impediment to marriage where both parties are of the same sex.” Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977, s. 5(4)(e). (c. 15).
1980: Male same-sex sexual acts are legalised 13 years after they have been legalised in England; “A homosexual act in private shall not be an offence provided that the parties consent thereto and have attained the age of twenty-one years.”Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980, s. 80(1) (c. 62).
1988: The education of LGBTI+ issues is prevented by section 28 of the Local Government Act 1998, which includes a “Prohibition on promoting homosexuality by teaching or by publishing material.” Local Government Act 1988, s. 28 (c. 9)
1994: The age of consent for homosexual acts is lowered to 18. The age of consent for heterosexual acts is 16. Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, s 145(2). (c. 33)
2000: The prohibition on the promotion of homosexuality by teaching or by published materials is repealed by the Scottish Parliament, allowing schools to educate children on LGBTI+ issues. Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000, Sch. 4, para. 1. (asp 7)
- The stages of the bill through the Scottish Parliament, including research briefings, evidence, committee and official reports and debates can be found in the Scottish Parliament Passage of Bills Series No. 8.
2000: The age of consent for “homosexual acts” is lowered to 16, and becomes equal to the age of consent for heterosexual acts. Sexual Offences Amendment Act 2000, s. 1(3). (c. 44).
2003: Consultation paper – Civil Partnership Registration: A legal status for committed same-sex couples in Scotland (and online)
2004: Same-sex relationships are recognised with civil partnerships, which create similar rights to marriage, however do not allow same-sex marriage. Civil Partnership Act 2004. (c. 33)
2004: Transsexual people obtain legal recognition of their acquired gender through an application for a gender recognition certificate. Gender Recognition Act 2004. (c. 7)
2007: Same-sex couples are allowed to adopt children, as couples who are “civil partners of each other”, or “living together as if civil partners” are included in the act. Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007, s. 29(3). (asp 4)
- The stages of the bill through the Scottish Parliament, including research briefings, evidence, committee and official reports and debates can be found in the Scottish Parliament Passage of Bills Series No. 105 (or online; vol. 1 and vol. 2)
2011: Consultation Paper – The Registration of Civil Partnerships Same Sex Marriage
2012: Consultation paper – The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill
2014: Same-sex marriage is legalised, whilst allowing religious groups to choose whether they will hold same-sex marriage ceremonies. Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 Pt 1 c.1 s.2(a) (asp 5)
- Where a civil partnership is changed to a marriage, the marriage date is retrospectively applied as the date of registration of the civil partnership.
- The stages of the bill through the Scottish Parliament, including research briefings, evidence, committee and official reports and debates can be found in the Scottish Parliament Passage of Bills Series No. 197 in paper or online.
2015: Review of civil partnership: a consultation by the Scottish Government “about the future of civil partnership in Scotland. The consultation seeks views on three options: no change, no new civil partnerships after a certain date in the future, or introducing opposite sex civil partnership.”
2016: Same-sex sexual activity can no longer be used as grounds for discharging a member of the armed forces with the repeal of sections 146(4) and 147(3) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. Armed Forces Act 2016, s. 14 (c. 21)
Reports, Papers, Government Policy and Research Briefings
- 1957: Report of the Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution (Also known as the Wolfenden Report). (Cmnd. 247). Home Office, Scottish Home Department.
- The report recommends that same-sex sexual behaviour amongst men over 21 in private be decriminalised and is enacted in England in 1967. Scottish committee member James Adair dissociates himself from the recommendations, and they are therefore not enacted in Scotland until 1980 (under the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act, section 80(1).
- 1957: A parliamentary debate on the Wolfenden Report was held on the 4th December 1957, and is available in paper or online. The debate contains an edited verbatim report of what is said in the House of Lords.
- 2000: Men and women allowed to serve as openly gay in the military following successful rulings at the European Court of Human Rights;
- 2000: The experience of violence and harassment of gay men in the city of Edinburgh (and online). Colin Morrison and Andrew Mackay.
- 2007: Rape and other Sexual Offences. Report 209. Scottish Law Commission. (and online)
- Recommends “that the law on sexual offences should not involve distinctions based on sexual orientation or types of sexual practice or on gender.” (p. 63)
- Preceeded by 2006: Discussion paper on rape and other sexual offences. D.P. 131. Scottish Law Commission (and online)
- 2008: Challenging prejudice : changing attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Scotland : recommendations of the LGBT Hearts and Minds Agenda Group (and online). Scottish Government.
- 2009: The experiences of children with lesbian and gay parents: an initial scoping review of evidence. Communities Analytical Services.
- 2009: Two petitions on the subject of equal marriage were submitted to the Scottish Government’s Public Petitions Committee;
- 2013: Scottish Government equality outcomes : lesbian gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) evidence review. Communities Analytical Services, Scottish Government.
- 2014: Marriage of same sex couples across the UK: What’s the same and what’s different? Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) Research Briefing.
- 2017: Sexual Orientation in Scotland 2017 – a Summary of the Evidence Base. Scottish Government.
- Same-sex marriage and civil partnerships. National Records of Scotland.
- Scottish Surveys Core Questions. Scottish Government. Includes question on sexual orientation.
- Hate Crime in Scotland; data from 2011 onwards on crimes aggravated by, amongst others, sexual orientation and transgender identity prejudice. Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
- The Scottish Government’s web page on Sexual Orientation
Social Attitude surveys
Scottish Social Attitudes Survey
- 2003 Attitudes to Discrimination in Scotland (and in paper)
- 2006 Attitudes to Discrimination in Scotland (and in paper)
- 2010 Attitudes to Discrimination in Scotland and positive action
- 2015 Attitudes to Discrimination in Scotland and positive action
This is a selected list from the wealth of official materials related to LGBTI+ issues. If you would like more information on any specific area or on how laws are passed, get in touch with us at the Maps, Official Publications and Statistics Unit on Level 7 of the library. We’re open Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, and can be contacted on 0141 330 6740 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ferguson, P. W. (2003) Case Comment Homosexual Offences. S.L.T. 36, 273-277
National Records of Scotland (2017) Guidance on changing a Civil Partnership registered in Scotland to a Marriage.