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British Elections: Where the parties stand on LGBT issues

Tue 23 Feb 2010 In: Comment View at Wayback View at NDHA

In May 2010, the United Kingdom is expected to go to the polls. While the Conservatives seem set to regain power after thirteen years in the wilderness, what do Labour and the Liberal Democrats have to offer UK LGBT voters? Positive record: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Gay UK journalist Johann Hari asked both Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrat leader) and Prime Minister Gordon Brown about their respective stances on LGBT politics in successive issues of Attitude magazine. Clegg seemed ambivalent about the current furore about Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill, although as he worked in a foreign aid agency before the House of Commons, his caution may be comprehensible when it comes to boycott and sanctions directed against that wretched regime. However, he thought that the UK's absolute blood donor ban was untenable, referred to police culture homophobia as one major area of concern, supported same sex marriage proper and criticised Labour and the Conservatives on the issue of endowment of (conservative religious?) 'faith schools', given higher levels of homophobic and transphobic bullying within them. He also conceded that while he had other problems with the Blair and Brown administrations, like their foreign policy conservatism and support for the US-led Iraqi War, their LGBT affirmative policies were not amongst them. But will that be a factor if the United Kingdom ends up with a hung parliament and the Liberal Democrats hold the balance of power within the House of Commons after May 2010? As for Prime Minister Brown, he faces a particular challenge from the strongest Conservative leader in over thirteen years, as well as incumbency fatigue, given his party's longevity and internal dissension over his tenure as leader, and the quagmire of Anglo-American involvement in the Iraqi War. However, he's campaigning on his party's admittedly positive overall reformist record on LGBT issues. He supported civil partnerships, is involved in proactive legislative action against homophobic violence and has condemned Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill, threatening further action. But when Hari questioned him, he seemed hesitant about issues like the gay blood donor ban and faith school endowment. He took the opportunity to attack David Cameron's overall record on the same issues. Overall, while Labour is suffering on other issues, economic management and its robust LGBT human rights record don't seem to be amongst them, not amongst LGBT voters. Recommended: Johann Hari: "Love Me, I'm Liberal" Attitude 188 (February 2010). "Prime Ministers Questions" Craig Young - 23rd February 2010    

Credit: Craig Young

First published: Tuesday, 23rd February 2010 - 2:08pm

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