The European Union is upgrading its policy to defend the human rights of LGBTI people around the world in a move welcomed by SNP MEP Alyn Smith.
The EU's 27 foreign affairs ministers have adopted new guidelines to promote and protect the human rights of all LGBTI people. The new guidelines will be binding which is a major step forward. All EU member state embassies worldwide will follow this approach, building on existing consular and representational co-operation whereby any EU citizen can use the embassy of any EU state.
"With equal marriage on course to become a reality in Scotland, we are forging ahead with fairness and it's good to see that the EU is following suit in its dealings around the world.
"I'm delighted that all 27 Member States have agreed to new binding guidelines. This is a massive step forward for the LGBTI community, especially as the document pays particular attention to trans and intersex people.
"These binding guidelines will promote better standards in each EU state as well. A number of EU member states still have a way to go in terms of how they implement equality at home.
"The European Parliament will monitor the implementation of these new guidelines which build on the blueprint we created three years ago. I'm hopeful that the rights of LGBTI people around the world will be improved and protected as a result."