Lothians become the gay centre of Scotland

Gay couple John Mcguire and Laurence Scott-Mackay tied the knot in Edinburgh. ''Picture: Neil Hanna
Gay couple John Mcguire and Laurence Scott-Mackay tied the knot in Edinburgh. ''Picture: Neil Hanna
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Four of Scotland’s top five “gayest” communities are situated in the Lothians, it has emerged.

The Census counted the number of civil partnerships in different areas for the first time, discovering that 0.2 per cent of the adult population was part of a civil partnership in 2011 – and that 15 per cent of all official same-sex partnerships were concentrated within four Edinburgh constituencies.

Topping the list was Edinburgh North and Leith, with 427 of the 7000 civil partnerships registered in Scotland, followed by Edinburgh Central with 286, Glasgow Kelvin with 249, Edinburgh Eastern with 189 and Edinburgh Southern with 187.

Marco Biagi MSP said that while civil partnerships appeared to be concentrated in urban areas, it may be that the full picture is yet to emerge.

He said: “I would like to think that our inner cities are magnets for same-sex couples for the same reason that they act as magnets for all types of residents.

“We have no reason to believe there are more gay people born in cities than elsewhere and I would have hoped to see the number of civil partnerships more evenly spread.

“However, we are still awaiting a breakdown of figures for cohabiting couples which will also detail the number of same- sex households, so I imagine these figures are just the tip of the iceberg.”

East Lothian came in sixth on the list, with 151 registered same-sex partnerships. The lowest number of registered civil partnerships was in Orkney, with just 11 civil partnerships in a population of 

Civil partnerships for same sex couples were first introduced in Scotland in December 2005. In June this year the Scottish Government announced that plans to introduce civil partnerships for heterosexual couples would not be part of the gay marriage bill.

Last month, MSPs approved the principles of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill by 98 to 15. The bill will be considered again next month before MSPs vote on the final draft.

Tom French, policy coordinator for the Equality Network, said: “With a large proportion of Scotland’s population based in Edinburgh and Glasgow it’s not surprising that these 
cities have the highest number of civil partnerships in the country.

“There is also evidence that some LGBT people migrate from rural areas to larger towns because of a perception that there will be greater acceptance, more social facilities, and the freedom to be themselves. That being said, it is welcome that civil partnerships are taking place across every part of Scotland.”