Salmond Gets Equality Award
22 October 2015, 06:00
Alex Salmond has been given a lifetime achievement award for his contribution towards achieving equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.
The former first minister was presented with the accolade at the PinkNews 10th anniversary and awards at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson was named politician of the year.
The gay news service praised her for having "broken new ground'' by appearing with her partner Jen Wilson in a party political broadcast before May's general election.
Mr Salmond was hailed for his long-standing support for LGBTI rights, from his backing for an equal age of consent to his role in introducing equal marriage in Scotland.
The now MP for Gordon said he was "honoured'' to accept the award.
He said: "Since I first became an MP, Scotland has taken huge strides towards becoming the fair and equal country that we all want to see.
"The creation of the Scottish Parliament has allowed us to change the law for the better and Scotland is now rated the most progressive in Europe for LGBTI rights.
"I was proud to lead the government which introduced one of the best equal marriage acts in the world.
"Of course, the job is not yet done and there is still further to go to protect and promote equality and human rights in the UK and internationally, including securing the additional powers we need to deliver greater progress in Scotland.
"I am confident that together we are moving in the right direction and that achieving full equality is now a case of not if, but when.''
Benjamin Cohen, chief executive of PinkNews, said Mr Salmond was a ``deserving winner'' of its annual Ally Award.
He said: "Through his leadership, Scotland has equal marriage legislation that is considered the gold standard around the world.
"As a result of his time as First Minister, Scotland has become a fairer, more open and tolerant place for LGBT+ to live in and through his actions he has ensured an enduring legacy that will benefit our community for generations to come.''
Ms Davidson said: "I had no idea how to be gay in public when I was first elected. I've tried hard to always be an honest voice when asked about LGBT issues and to show myself and my relationships in an honest way.
"I was so proud of my partner, Jen, when she asked me earlier this year if we could do something to help during the equal marriage debate in her native Ireland.
"`She is not a public figure - and came to Scotland 12 years ago to feel be able to be her whole self - so it was a massive step for her to want to talk frankly and honestly in the Irish media.
"`I hope small acts like our party election broadcast, holding hands on the way to vote as any other political couple might do, and others, helps to make sexuality a non-issue in the politics of the future.''