The coalition deal between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats promises action on a number of gay rights issues brought up during the election campaign.
The document was unveiled today as the formal deal between prime minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg after their parties formed a coalition government.
During the campaign, both leaders promised a range of measures for LGBT people. All three main parties promised action on homophobic bullying, and Mr Cameron promised he would treat historical convictions from when gay sex was illegal as spent.
The deal says the government will help schools deal with homophobic bullying, pressure other countries to support gay rights, push for international recognition of UK civil partnerships, stop deportment of gay asylum seekers at risk of harm, treat gay sex convictions as spent and promote better recording of homophobic and transphobic hate crimes.
However, it does not mention opening up marriage to gay couples. Mr Clegg told PinkNews.co.uk in February he supported changing the law, although the issue did not feature in his party’s manifesto.
A Conservative equality manifesto launched by Theresa May before the election said the party would “consider the case for changing the law to allow civil partnerships to be called and classified as marriage”. Mr Cameron said in an interview following this that he was “not planning” any change but would “look to the future cautiously”.
Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg unveiled the document at the Treasury this morning.
Mr Clegg said “Even if you’ve read 100 party manifestos, you’ve never read a document like this one.
“Not one party’s ideas, not even just two parties’ ideas, but a joint programme for government based on shared ambitions and shared goals.
“Compromises have, of course, been made on both sides, but those compromises have strengthened, not weakened, the final result.”
Mr Cameron said: “The more that we talked, the more that we listened, the more we realised our visions for this country and the values that inspired them are strengthened and enhanced by the act of the two parties coming together.”
The deal also promises to scrap ID cards and the National Identity Register, introduce a Freedom Bill and restore rights to non-violent protest.
On education, it lists plans to allow parents to open schools, attract more science and maths graduates to teaching and encourage more faith schools.
The coalition government also plans to scrap existing welfare to work programme in favour of one scheme, while incapacity benefit claimants will be reassessed.
The LGBT-friendly promises in full:
“We will help schools tackle bullying in schools, especially homophobic bullying.”
“We will use our relationships with other countries to push for unequivocal support for gay rights and for UK civil partnerships to be recognised internationally.
“We will stop the deportation of asylum seekers who have had to leave particular countries because their sexual orientation or gender identification puts them at proven risk of imprisonment, torture or execution.”
“We will change the law so that historical convictions for consensual gay sex with over 16s will be treated as spent and will not show up on criminal records checks.”
“We will promote better recording of hate crimes against disabled, homosexual and transgender people, which are frequently not centrally recorded.”