14 June 2016
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has paid tribute to those who lost their lives following a fatal shooting in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida on Sunday 12th June.
Speaking in the debating chamber in the Scottish Parliament following a minute’s silence to remember the victims of the attack, she said:
“Firstly, I would like to extend the thoughts and sympathies of the people of Scotland to the families and friends of all those whose lives were so cruelly taken in Orlando at the weekend. We also send our very best wishes to those who sustained injury.
“The attack on the Pulse nightclub was – as the US government has made clear – an act of terror.
“But it was also a hate crime – the worst targeted attack on LGBTI people that we have seen in the western world in recent times.
“It is therefore vital, in addition to playing our part in the fight against terrorism, that we may stand shoulder to shoulder with the LGBTI community – here at home and across the world.
“Scotland has made great progress in becoming a fair and equal society. We are considered one of the most progressive countries in Europe in terms of LGBTI equality. This government, this Parliament – and I believe the people of Scotland – firmly believe that there is no place in Scotland for prejudice or discrimination, and that everyone must be treated fairly and equally.
“Tragically, the events in Orlando at the weekend show that there are some who do not share that belief, who prefer to hate and to do so violently.
“Yet we should also take comfort from seeing people across the world – people of all faiths and none – gathering together to express solidarity with those killed and injured and with the LGBTI community as a whole.
“However, these tragic events and indeed the latest hate crime figures in Scotland published earlier this week do remind us that there is no room for complacency. Scottish society must continue to take action to tackle LGBTI hate crime.
“We have already implemented strong laws that create new offences and aggravations. We will continue to work closely with Police Scotland and others to encourage increased reporting of hate crimes and we will also do everything possible to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.
“Above all else, we should all take the opportunity today to reaffirm the kind of country and indeed the kind of world we are determined to live in – one where there is no place for any hate crime, whether on the basis of race, faith, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Scotland stands in solidarity with the people of Orlando, and LGBTI communities across the world. pic.twitter.com/fVqeJnv5rz
— First Minister (@ScotGovFM) June 13, 2016