Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, has made history by ordering the rainbow flag to be flown at St Andrews House – home of the Scottish Government – during the Commonwealth Games.

Responding to a call from human rights activist Peter Tatchell to condemn international homophobia, Salmond said that Scotland ‘demonstrates its commitment to LGBTI rights through its words and actions.’

Tatchell applauded Alex Salmond ‘for making such a strong, affirmative commitment to the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people throughout the Commonwealth’, adding: ‘Alex Salmond’s statement of support for gay rights at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow is a first. The leader of no other host government at either the Commonwealth or Olympic Games has ever made such a positive pro-gay equality statement and backed it up with concrete visible support by flying the gay rainbow flag from government headquarters for the duration of the Games.

‘This is a simple but important gesture and act of solidarity with the millions of LGBTI people who still suffer criminalisation, discrimination and mob violence in 80 per cent of Commonwealth countries. Not even the London or UK governments managed to do this during the 2012 Olympics. Glasgow’s gone one better than London. Bravo!’

Homosexuality is still criminalised in 42 Commonwealth countries, and it is hoped that this move will comfort LGBTQI people, while upsetting their governments. ‘It demonstrates the Scottish government’s commitment to a truly equal and inclusive Games,’ said Tatchell.

The announcement that the flag would be flown throughout the Games was made by Salmond to an audience of international media representatives in Glasgow.