The Green Party unveiled its general election manifesto today, which promises no fewer than 14 measures for gay and transgender equality.
At present, the party has no MPs, although leader Caroline Lucas MEP, standing for Brighton Pavilion, is its best hope of representation in parliament.
Keeping up the theme of “fairness”, as espoused by Labour and the Lib Dems’ manifestos, the document is titled ‘Fair is worth fighting for’.
The most notable LGBT policies are opening up civil partnerships and marriages to straight and gay couples and ending the gay blood donation ban.
Other policies include amending the Equality Act to protect LGBT people from harassment, removing equality law exemptions for faith schools and refusing visas and work permits to singers who condone homophobia.
On foreign issues, the Green Party says it would “support” gay movements in homophobic countries and ensure asylum for those fleeing homophobic persecution in line with asylum granted to other groups.
Caroline Lucas said: “We are delighted that our general election manifesto includes strong commitments to further extend the rights and freedoms of LGBT people.
“Much remains to be done to end homophobia and transphobia and the Greens are proposing further far-reaching reforms, most of which will cost little or nothing. We challenge the other parties to match our LGBT pledges.”
The Green Party’s human rights spokesperson, Peter Tatchell added: “The Green Party will go into the general election as the only party campaigning for full marriage and partnership equality.
“Our manifesto commitments show up the shortcomings of the other parties.”
Phelim Mac Cafferty, chair of LGBTGreens, attacked the Conservative Party and said they had “failed to commit” to gay-friendly promises made by David Cameron in the last week.
He said: “In Brighton Pavilion we are leading in the polls, ahead of the Tories who only this week have once again failed to commit to promises on gay marriage in their manifesto.”
The Greens are the only party to have pledged to legalise marriage for gay couples. Although Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg told PinkNews.co.uk earlier this year he supported full marriage equality, the promise is not in his party’s manifesto.
Instead, the Lib Dems say they will get tough on hate crime, end deportations of LGBT people to countries where they will face deportation, press for the recognition of civil partnerships around the world, broaden the legal definitions of transgendered people and aim to return more LGBT MPs to parliament.
Labour’s manifesto for the general election promises that more money will be invested in tackling homophobic bullying in schools if the party is returned to power, along with removing a ‘free speech’ amendment added to hate crime legislation and making sex education for children compulsory.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives’ manifesto, also published this week, contains only one issue which relates specifically to gay people – to include them in the party’s plans to reward marriages and civil partnerships in the tax system.
It does not include pledges on striking out convictions of men convicted of homosexuality offences or doing more to tackle homophobic bullying, both of which Mr Cameron made in the fall-out of the row his shadow home secretary Chris Grayling created when he said he agreed bed and breakfast owners should be allowed to bar gay couples.