Scottish MPs (MSP) have dismissed a petition to change adult incest laws, saying there is no public interest value in taking it forward. The bid, which was submitted by Richard Morris, called on the government to amend legislation so that it no longer applies to consenting adults aged 21 and over.
Morris claimed that the current rule "does unnecessarily and unfairly punish consensual adult incest, breaching the rights to sexual autonomy for all consenting adults that is accepted in other more developed countries". In his petition, he emphasized that the proposal would only apply to people over 21, saying: "It involves only adults and excludes anyone under the legal age of consent, and even those a bit older who still may be psychologically immature, and vulnerable to abuse, but legally adults in every respect.
"Children are protected from sexual and other abuse by other laws, and there is no need for the double criminalisation of the offence."
Morris, who lives in Australia, according to the Independent, was understood to be lobbying on behalf of a Scottish man who was found guilty of incest with his daughter. According to the BBC, the petition was never open for the public to sign, meaning that it gathered a grand total of zero signatures in support of the proposal. Morris claims that the current public view on incest is caused by "ignorance".
He said: "The Scots incest law perpetuates superstitious, bigoted, outmoded beliefs, and in its present form its continued existence is unjustified."
Despite almost no public support to legalise incest between adults, MSPs are obliged to consider petitions that seek to change devolved law, which this case falls under. Committee convener Michael McMahon said: "I recognise the petition addresses a subject matter that many people find abhorrent. Speaking personally, I take a similar view.
"However, all petitions that fall within the committee's rules must be given our open and transparent consideration," he added.