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BBC Scotland's Colin MacKinnon reports
"It's estimated that there are half a million people in Scotland's gay, lesbian and transgendered community"
 real 56k

Ali Jarvis of Stonewall Scotland
"The money is for a three-year project which looks to build bridges with other excluded communities in Scotland."
 real 28k

Tuesday, 12 June, 2001, 15:25 GMT 16:25 UK
Church attacks gay lottery grants
Gay couple
Campaigners fear the award will spark a backlash
The award of lottery cash to a gay rights pressure group has been attacked by the Church of Scotland.

A number of gay and lesbian groups - led by Stonewall Scotland - will use almost 400,000 of lottery money to challenge prejudice and homophobia.

But the chair of the Kirk's board of social responsibilities, Reverend Jim Cowie, said he believed lottery cash should not be used for the promotion of a homosexual lifestyle.

The funds will be used for education, research and bridge-building with other communities.

Rev Jim Cowie
Rev Jim Cowie believes the cash is being misspent
The money will be used to fund Beyond Barriers, a three-year project designed to break down prejudice towards gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender people.

Stonewall will work with Equality Network, Outright Scotland and the Stonewall Youth Project on the project which is worth 500,000-plus, with 387,000 coming from National Lottery cash.

The award has been made by the Community Fund, which was formerly known as the National Lotteries Charity Board.

It will pay for research into how much homophobic abuse takes place in Scotland.

The national initiative will also provide support to those in isolated communities who face discrimination.

Ali Jarvis, of Stonewall Scotland, said: "This project seeks to promote understanding, it seeks to promote tolerance, it seeks to promote diversity.

"That is not about promoting any group at the expense of others.

Ali Jarvis
Ali Jarvis said society needs "balance"
"I am pleased that last year the lottery funded Marriage Care Scotland to the tune of 400,000, and I think we just need to balance and recognise there is a place for everyone in society."

However, the Church of Scotland has criticised the award.

Mr Cowie said the money would be used to promote homosexuality.

He said: "Stonewall is a group that is well-known for promoting homosexuality. And that has been at the forefront of their actions.

"I think it can often be quite aggressive and intimidating to others. And in the past rather than build bridges it has often put up and enforced barriers."

When a similar grant was made in England last year, family values groups condemned the decision as scandalous and argued that lottery money should be used to support families, not promote homosexuality.

Sian Langdon
Sian Langdon said the lottery was socially inclusive
But Sian Langdon, a lottery distribution officer, said: "Gay and lesbian groups are part of the community within Scotland and as part of our promotion of equal opportunities we recognise that and we want to be a socially inclusive funder."

Last year Stonewall organised a march from Edinburgh to London as part of its bid to see the controversial Section 28 law abolished.

The law, which forbids the promotion of homosexuality, was scrapped last year by the Scottish Parliament.

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See also:

22 Mar 01 | Scotland
Sex education guidance unveiled
07 May 00 | Scotland
March for Section 28 repeal
07 Feb 00 | Scotland
Gay men 'more at risk of attack'
29 Oct 99 | Scotland
Gays and lesbians 'face violence'
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