Humza Yousaf standing infront of Bute House, smiling and wearing a blue suit.

Humanist Society notes resignation of Humza Yousaf and calls for protection of secular policies

April 29, 2024

Humanist Society Scotland notes the resignation of Humza Yousaf MSP as first minister. Mr. Yousaf has steered our country through a turbulent period while displaying ethical clarity on some key issues. In particular, the society acknowledges his strong support for safe-access zones around abortion services and ending conversion practices, and for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Gaza.

Humanist Society would like to express its willingness to work positively with any new first minister to achieve the progressive policies that Scotland’s voters want to see. The last decade has seen our country embrace a humane, secular legislative platform on issues such as LGBT+ inclusive education, children’s rights, and more. But there is much still to be done.

Humanist Society hopes that legislation on buffer zones and assisted dying laws will be enacted over the remaining course of this parliament. It is also time to end cruel and bigoted conversion practices that harm our LGBT+ citizens. Such changes would reflect the will of the country at large, which has repeatedly signalled its support for women’s rights, LGBT+ inclusion, and compassionate end-of-life choice. Scotland’s next first minister must respect our country’s overwhelmingly secular profile and bring about the changes it wants, putting aside personal faith wherever necessary.

Fraser Sutherland, CEO of Humanist Society Scotland, said:

Scotland’s next first minister must govern our country on behalf of all its citizens. In 2024, Scotland is a majority non-religious country. But it also supports a growing diversity of faiths. Our new leader, whoever they are, has to command the confidence and respect of each and every one of our country’s belief communities. The way to do this is by embracing a secular approach to governance. They must give no privileged place to one religion, nor must they allow personal belief to trump evidence-led policy-making.

Our parliament is currently considering two bills which will impact significantly on bodily autonomy, on assisted dying and the right to access abortion free from harassment. No matter the views or thoughts of our new first minister on these issues, they have a duty to uphold the decision reached by our democratically elected parliament.

Fraser Sutherland

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