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Coalition deal promises action on homophobic bullying, gay asylum seekers and LGBT rights abroad

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  1. John(Derbyshire) 20 May 2010, 11:26am

    Marriage for gays will not arrive until Labour are back in power-in 5 years time. I suggest you lobby all your Labour MP`s and David milliband-as I fully expect him to be our next Prime Minister. Vote Labour at the next election. You can see whats happened to us this time.

  2. Jock S. Trap 20 May 2010, 11:29am

    An excellent start.

  3. Jock S. Trap 20 May 2010, 11:32am

    have to add that finally in only a week we seem to be returning to a common sense government.

  4. Tackling homophobic bullying while encouraging more faith schools doesn’t really add up does it… treating the symptom but not the cause.

  5. George Broadhead, PTT 20 May 2010, 11:55am

    “We will help schools tackle bullying in schools, especially homophobic bullying.”

    Let’s hope that this will include homophobic bullying in faith schools which, as a Stonewall survey has revealed, have (unsurprisingly) more of this sort of bullying than other schools. This is especially relevant as the new government plans – very regrettably – to increase the number of these divisive schools which are run at tax-payers expense.

  6. LGBT Rights abroad

    Here’s an idea on how to start:

    https://email.number10.gov.uk/Contact.aspx

    Contact the Prime Minister demanding that Britain do the following:

    1. Impose trade sanctions against Malawi
    2. Cease all financial aid to Malawi except to NGO’s who have a human rights record which does not discriminate against LGBT people
    3. Malawi to be instantly expelled from the Commonwealth

  7. Sister Mary Clarance 20 May 2010, 12:35pm

    Well, well well. I thought the skies were supposed to all be caving in and we were getting rounded up and shot.

    Seems the Labour propaganda might have been slightly untrue

  8. Mihangel apYrs 20 May 2010, 12:40pm

    SMC
    proof of the pudding. Let’s see what they actually deliver.

    A nice principled statement about what their intentions are towards Malawi and Uganda would be a starting point

  9. John in Derbyshire No. 1. We won’t get marriage under Labour and most definitely not under a Tory government, neither has an grasp of what full equality means. Its a bit rich Cameron pushing for international recognition of Civil Partnerships. I predict, NOT going to happen. They’re outnumbered by 8 countries with full marriage equality. That is going to be the norm, not CPs as evidenced by Portugal this week. Nobody is mimicking the UK with the exception of Ireland with slightly fewer rights under that version of alledged “equality”. Those of us who are progressive and on board should be pressuring Clegg to make it happen. We need an alternate movement to make StonewallUK irrelevant, an organisation that does NOT support us progressives but chooses to support a ban on access to civil marriage. I don’t see any support from Pink News either.

  10. Anyone in favour of full same sex civil marriage should write to;

    Nick Clegg
    House of Commons
    London SW1A 0AA

    You can also CC the letter to;

    David Cameron
    10 Downing Street
    London SW1A 2AA

    A written letter is more likely to be ready than an email, but you can also email;
    cleggn@parliament.uk
    and
    camerond@parliament.uk

    Stonewall has no interest in taking this issue on, so if they don’t, we all have to, and bombarding these 2 with letters and emails as well as your local MP (write to them at the same House of Commons address as Nick Clegg or email them at their @parliament.uk email address which will usually be their last name followed by their first initial) is the only way.

    We need to put this on the Government’s agenda.

  11. Homophobic bullying: Children’s TV sweeps this issue under the carpet. The BBC needs to get its act together, after years of deliberate avoidance. See my blog

  12. The treatment of gay and trans asylum seekers in the UK system has been a stain on Labour’s otherwise commendable record on LGBT rights. It’s not an issue that gets much coverage, even in the gay press, and precious little sympathy, so it is a very welcome surprise to see the issue being addressed by a conservative-liberal government. The test will come in the use of county of origin information, and the handling by UKBA case-workers.

    These very issues are shortly to be addressed in a report from the apparently ‘irrelevant’ Stonewall, who persist in their ridiculous belief that there are no more important things to worry about than whether people can call themselves ‘married’ or not.

    The treatment of gays in Uganda and Malawi is heinous, but I would have reservations about a policy of isolating them solely on the basis of their gay rights record. For one thing, once you’ve cut them off, you’ve have no levers left. And for another I wouldn’t liek to think that innocent people should suffer, die even, just because I’ve got a cob on about gay rights. As soon and S’Murph starts telling me that issues are susceptible of one line solutions, then I know that they’re complex.

    In any case, we now have Alan Duncan as International Development Secretary, so as with many other things, we’ll have to see how the act, now that we’ve heard what they say. And that goes for gay marriage too.

    Bob, I appreciate lots of people don’t like Stonewall, but what I’m always interested to know is what their suggestion would be for a more representative, more progressive, or more effective organisation would be. And what you, personally, are doing to bring it into being?

  13. theotherone 20 May 2010, 1:57pm

    Will I never!

    I’ve written to the PM about Amendment 70 and posted my letter on the facebook page I built regarding this:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Repeal-the-Homophobic-Amendment-70/123025264392882?ref=mf

  14. In response to some of the comments:

    There are, absolutely and without a doubt, some hideous abuses of LGBT rights around the World, and this needs to be focused on. However, equal rights needs to start at home. If we are to spread the equality message, it would help if we are equal here. Without civil marriage rights, we are not. The UK would be the first of the 5 permanent members of the security council with same sex civil marriage if they were to introduce it, and that would send out a powerful message.

    Stonewall focuses on issues that absolutely deserve focus. However their work is self defeating when we are that “other minority”, which people can continue to ignore, and we will always continue to be that “other minority” while we have that “other form of marriage”. While we continue to have a special category under the law, we will continue to be a special category in society, and we will never be free.

    Being equal legally in every way sends a strong message out internationally, as well as at home to the children in the school yard.

    I too think there is merit setting up a non profit org which will now campaign for same sex marriage.

  15. @Sister Mary Clarance

    The emphasise will always be on this new government to prove their commitment to the LGBT issues and not on the sceptics who rightly fear the Conservatives because of their previous stance towards us.

    As yet it is way too early to expect the skies NOT to fall in.

  16. theotherone 20 May 2010, 2:30pm

    Patrick: there are several ways we are not ‘equal’ and Marriage is not a Holly Grail but only one issue.

    Will you support my Facebook group on Amendment 70? If we get enough people joining we can make it a news story.

  17. Sister Mary Clarence 20 May 2010, 2:38pm

    @ D Lambeth

    It seems somewhat different though from all the negativity that was pedaled on here some some quarters about the end of equality for us and the repeal of legislation etc., etc.

    We’ve had Teresa May standing up and making the statements that would be expected of a pro-equality Home Secretary and only a couple of days later we’ve got the new government declaring a commitment to sort out a number of things Labour couldn’t or wouldn’t.

    With all the other stuff that needs to be sorted out, they have obviously placed some importance on making these announcements now

  18. @ theotherone

    You are right, there are other legal issues, and marriage is the holy grail, but it is precisely for that reason that we must pursue it vigorously. There are now, post Portugal, 8 countries with full same sex marriage, and 5 more where it is currently passing through the legislative process. That is 13 in total who will probably have same sex marriage within a matter of months. That is not a small number of countries and not an easily ignored bloc. We should be pushing for same sex marriage in the UK to ensure we join this group.

    I will check your facebook page tonight.

  19. @Sister Mary Clarence,

    With the lead up to the last election still fresh in our minds (Grayling,Lardner,Stroud….) and the cosying up to questionable European parties. Is it not surprising that negativity had increased?

    So it is of no surprise that they need to act early, after all, we maybe a minority but we are a large one that cannot be ignored.

    Also, I wonder how much influence the Liberals have made.

  20. theotherone 20 May 2010, 4:25pm

    I’ll be glad to see you then Patrick and I’ll join any campaign for full Marriage.

  21. This is good news. I so hope it’s not just rhetoric and they are actually going to do something about these issues. But the amendment 70 issue is surely more important than any of these things as that amendment means that teachers can bully children with the bible or the koran and teach a whole new generation to be homophobic. Theotherone is right to hightlight this – I now think it could be the most important of the gay rights issues because it shows the religious that they will not have the freedom to spread their hate, however much they believe it. I would join your facebook page theotherone, but I’m not on facebook.

  22. I thought I’d mention that the Govt’s ‘promise to treat gay convictions as spent’ also seems a bit misleading. Generally speaking most of these convictions will already have been spent. The problem is that under the present system all convictions [including spent convictions for old sexual offences such as gross indecency] have to be disclosed if you undergo most Criminal Records Burea checks. The police are legally bound to disclose ALL convictions held on the Police National Computer. As a result, many gay/bi men have found that spent convictions going back many years are appearing on their CRB forms – effectively outing them and leading to discrimination in employment and education. We need to campaign to have spent convictions for these sorts of sexual offences removed from the police national computer or at the very least ensure that they are not diclosed.

  23. Even as I write, a young Ugandan Gay man I have recently befriended waits at the Home Office, in Croydon, to find out whether he will be released again or deported home to face the most violently homophobic hatred, and possibly the death sentence.

    He escaped to the UK following a brutal, prolonged homophobic attack by 8+ men, who punched, kicked, hit him with sticks, stabbed him in the stomach, tore off his toe, dislocated his shoulder and fractured his skull, leaving him blind in one eye.

    He is a gentle man, the same age as my daughter; he fears being deported more than anything; he is now homeless, penniless, hungry, has asthma and has not been able to afford proper treatment for any of his injuries… but he is gentle and smiles sweetly and thanks us, the few who are trying to help him, with such humility…

    We, who have fought, campaigned, gained some rights and freedoms, must now stand with those who have neither.

    Let us revive the petition by Avaaz.org, to the new Coalition Government: to impose draconian sanctions on Uganda and any other States that victimise LGBT people and incite their citizens to do the same!

  24. theotherone 20 May 2010, 5:36pm

    Jay: it’s not even, for me, about stuffing one to the Religious but protecting our youth from the Corrosive effects of Homophobia.

    What hope will we have in the future if this law stays in place? A generation of Queer people with self loathing so deeply ingrained that it’s like dirt under the finger nails? A generation of violent Homophobes?

    This needs stopped now before it’s too late.

  25. Patrick No. 18, I’m all for pushing for marriage equality. We should have that freedom of choice, not barred from it. I know Sir Ian McKellen is for it and always has been so maybe he’s the one we should be approaching to get a better, alternate movement in opposition to StonewallUK and their followers who oppose full equality.

    Who are the other five countries currently involved with legislating it? I’m aware of Argentina and Iceland. Argentina might probably be on board this year. I know Finland is definitely getting it in 2011. Since Portugal has gone further than us, I wonder if that will impact Brazil? Brazil has a far more progressive president than most others, so it won’t surprise me. The UK….I don’t think its going to happen here for a long long time, many are against it, including a lot of our own gays. I don’t see Clegg putting pressure on Cameron do you? They’re all basically afraid of the backlash from the religious cults even though that’s a lame excuse in light of Portugal’s recent victory. Its code for “do nothing”. If we do get 13 in total, its going to make the argument against the policy of non-interference by the EU far less sustainable if any more member states sign on. I predict Denmark will follow Finland, maybe France if Sarkozy is kicked out which could well happen since his popularity is diminishing fast, especially among the younger generation. That would be huge!

  26. Tim Hopkins 20 May 2010, 7:00pm

    It’s disappointing that there is no mention in the coalition agreement of equal marriage. Of the other pledges, the ones on schools, historical convictions for gay sex, and hate crime do not apply in Scotland, where these are issues controlled by the Scottish Govt and Parliament. I would say that Scotland is currently ahead on hate crime, but behind on consideration of historical convictions.

    Same-sex marriage in Scotland is also 90% devolved to the Scottish Parliament, but it needs the agreement of the UK Govt to make the same tax and immigration rules apply as to mixed-sex marriage.

    So we in Scotland will be waiting to see whether the new UK Govt is prepared at least not to block Scotland going ahead with equal marriage – that is, if we can persuade the Scottish Govt and Parliament to start to move on it, either before or after the May 2011 Scottish election!

  27. Pumpkin Pie 20 May 2010, 7:01pm

    I have grave concerns for the future of Amendment 70. Aren’t both the Conservatives and Lib Dems opposed to state meddling in schools? Labour created this law, but I don’t think we have a hope in hell of these parties, who encourage parents to run alternate schools how they see fit, repealing a law. They don’t want the voters to think they’re a “nanny” government, no matter what it means for vulnerable children.

  28. theotherone 20 May 2010, 8:07pm

    I think there’s actually a good chance of some movement on this issue as callmedave is so desperate to be seen as not being like theoldtories.

  29. @ Bob71350 – the 5 other countries which are currently running through the legislative process are Argentina, Iceland, Slovenia, Luxembourg and Nepal. There are a further 2 – Uruguay and Albania, where the ruling parties are in favour of same sex marriage. There are then 2 more where the issue is under consideration – Andorra and Cyprus. Finally, there is Germany, where a Constitutional Court ruling late last year established that gay couples need to be given exactly the same rights as married couples. This in itself doesn’t mean Germany will get same sex marriage as they might just call them something else, but they have to make them legally exactly the same and the Berlin representatives in the German upper house have already suggested same sex marriage is the easiest way to meet the constitutional court ruling.

    I wasn’t aware of Finland, but that is good news. Denmark is only a matter of time as well.

    So a very large pipeline of countries coming on.

  30. BrazilBoysBlog 20 May 2010, 11:30pm

    @ Bob71350 “Since Portugal has gone further than us, I wonder if that will impact Brazil? Brazil has a far more progressive president than most others, so it won’t surprise me.”

    Currently there are no plans or proposals to introduce gay marriage here in Brazil. President Lula is coming to the end of his presidency this year, but it looks like his successor will be a woman from his party, so it might be an issue raised next year. At present, we have ´stable unions´ and these are similar to the CP´s in the UK.

  31. I am wondering if it is still worth supporting Stonewall if they can’t stand up for marriage equality.

  32. paul canning 21 May 2010, 3:32am

    @GeaVox if you’re reading this please contact us to see if we can help your gay Ugandan friend.

  33. Wait for it , the next big gay vote winner is going to be gay marriage. Let’s face it , most of us didn’t believe that LGBT rights would be greatly reduced under the tories anyway and when a libdem-con coalition happenned then most of us were “ecstatic” I think Pinknews said. Most of us voted greens or lib dems (see pinknews polling) becuase they were the gay friendly parties, labour has lost that number one spot. Comment no 1 is incredible stupid, didn’t you read lab’s gay manifesto, they said they won’t bring in gay marriage because of relgion, they’ve argued that gay marriage was only the traditional one between people of opposite sex. If labour want to compete for the gay vote in the UK again then they are going to have to put gay marriage into their agenda and so are Stonewall and all the other pathetic gay organisations that say CPs are adequate for British gays and yet applaud countres that bring gay marriage in and are outraged when the pope or others speak out against it apart from the labour party.What exactly is the difference between tory and lab at the moment on LGBT issues? All the scare mongering about tories was crap and if after 5 yrs of tory and nothing negative has happenned then what exactly are going to be a vote winner for labour and its supporters.

  34. The British Government plans to repatriate Kiana Firouz to Iran where she faces the death penalty for being lesbian. She is a film actress who has made a film about her own experience, which in Iran is plenty to execute her on.

    http://www.ncadc.org.uk

    will tell you all you need to know.

    Get busy.

    make this the year you took love and justice seriously.Andrei

  35. I’m 18, meaning I’ve just left school – and there was no education there regarding homosexuality or transgender issues (granted I went to a private school, but it was by no means a religious one, so I suspect it went by the same teaching implemented all over the country). What the government needs to do regarding homophobic bullying and hate crimes is to introduce a system of education, because simply giving schools power over the sanctions for these bullies will not work; they will grow up with the same homophobic views, and continue to discriminate. And how are they going to promote better recording of hate crimes? There is still enough homophobia to mean someone might reasonably be wary of going to the police.
    In terms of foreign homophobic regimes the solution remains – the aid we’re sending needs to go not to the governments but, at least in part, directly to schools, which would help bring families out of poverty; and people need to be educated so that they are not as homophobic in the first place.
    Punishing the behaviour will not work in the long run. We need to change the views which lead to the behaviour.

  36. No. 26, Tim Hopkins…..Cameron will NOT give the nod to Scotland to proceed on marriage quality because it would put him in a very difficult situation in supporting it for England. He doesn’t want that, he made it quite clear shortly before election day.

    No. 29, Patrick. Many thanks for clarifying the other five countries. Yes, Finland will pass it comfortably in 2011, the votes are there, more than enough.

    If Sarkozy in France is kicked out in the next election and that could well happen, watch for the re-emergence of Segolene Royal, the only French progressive politico who ran on marriage equality among other things in 2007 with a huge bloc of younger voters supporting her. If France goes the way of Portugal, and probably will, that will be HUGE. I’m already gloating over Cameron squirming about that one as it will get a little closer to home, to close for comfort no less. You can bet he’ll find every excuse in the book to thwart any attempts to support it in deferrence to the state cult, the gay anti marriage haters in collusion with StonewallUK.

    Alan, No. 33. Yes, isn’t it hypocritical of those who applaud other countries doing the right thing on equality but don’t support it at home. Gordon Brown is a classic example of that and so too is Cameron. Brown criticised California for introducing Proposition 8 which overturned that state’s marriage equality law, yet turns around only recently and states that marriage is too closely tied up with religion, including civil marriage that has absolutely NOTHING to do with religion. Cameron was pretty silent on that so we can deduce he supported Brown on that. Pure cowards and both hypocrites.

  37. Tim Hopkins 21 May 2010, 3:28pm

    Bob, you’re right that that is the main reason the UK Govt would not support Scottish equal marriage. To set against that is that it is an issue that is devolved to Scotland, and the new UK Govt has promised to give more respect to the devolved Scottish Govt.

    But I guess we’ll see over the next couple of years!

  38. CP recognition worldwide – yes, that would be nice if I knew what that meant – many countries that currently have a civil union/marrige already give equivalent rights to British CPs as their own same sex partnerships http://www.uklgig.org.uk/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=2213 – they treat us the same as their own – does this mean that they recognise the CP? probably not ,gay marriages aren’t recognised in Switzerland, UK as suchh but are converted to civil unions. I really would prefer to have gay marriage in the UK and probably some countries would recognise it as such but I think some work needs to be done in ensuring somekind of international agreement on what is what for gay couples where they move abroad, for instance Germany does not recognise gay marriages from abroad but recognises CPs from abroad, France does recognise gay marriage from abroad as marriages and foreign CPs as the equivalent of PACS….We need some kind of clairfication on what the sitution is at the moment, yes countries are chaning their rules all the time but the UK has embassies everywhere and has a massive amount of people in these embassies and in their FCO, surely they can provide some clarification…

  39. Dromio, No. 31, if you believe in FULL equality, I recommend NOT supporting StonewallUK any more, its a waste of time and your hard-earned money. They don’t deserve one penny. If they want our support, let them earn it by supporting and pushing for marriage equality even if they don’t believe in it. They should still be fighting for that right regardless, but they won’t. Reason enough not to support them on this and anything else. All or nothing.

  40. poeticlicense 26 May 2010, 9:56am

    except when it iss classed as freedom of speech under their new laws announced recently, and 2 cases have gone the defendants way as a result, if you trust the tories, you must be mad

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