Byline: GRACE MCLEAN
LESBIAN and gay couples taking part in talks which could pave the way for same-sex marriages are being invited to travel at the taxpayers' expense.
The Scottish Executive is offering to pay gays, lesbians, transexuals and transgenders 40p a mile or the cost of a second class rail ticket to travel from anywhere in the country to discuss civil partnership schemes.
The meetings, to be held next week in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh, are not open to heterosexuals because of the sensitive nature of the proposed schemes, which would give gays the same pension and inheritance rights as married couples.
When a Scottish Daily Mail reporter contacted the Executive posing as a lesbian, she was told the cash payments, advertised on equality and gay websites, would be paid in full even without proof of address.
But when a second journalist posed as a heterosexual anxious to give his views, he was told: 'It wouldn't be appropriate for you to attend. We want to provide a safe environment for people from the lesbian and gay community and representatives from relevant groups.
' They might feel uncomfortable having people at the meeting from outside that community.
'We are trying to target a particular group and we want everybody to be able to speak freely. …