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Comment: Labour must listen and lead in the fight for LGBT equality by Ed Miliband

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  1. Re: Ed Miliband has pledged that his party will fight for full LGBT equality…WHY IS IT IN OPPOSITION THEY’LL PROMISE YOU EVERYTHING. Politicians are full of (insert your noun of choice here.)

  2. Ok so he supports ‘gay marriage’. How about just plain and simple equal marriage? Gender should not be an issue.

  3. Ed Miliband’s attempt to present the lifting of the ban on gays in the military as some sort of Labour achievement is utterly disingenuous. Labour fought tooth and nail to keep the ban on gays. They were forced to concede by the European Court of Human Rights. He ought to have the courage to admit that Labour made a mistake – but, no, he just hopes we’re too stupid to notice.

    Cameron claims to have changed his mind about gay equality. After opposing the repeal of Clause 28, he now says that he’s glad that it’s gone. He voted in favour of civil partnerships. He is sitting on the fence on gay marriage (I suspect that he would be in favour, but is not sure if he can drag the right of his party with him). Brown, of course, ruled out marriage equality. I’m not saying that Cameron is better than Miliband, but I don’t think there’s much to choose between any of them.

    In the end, I do not support Labour, so obviously this colours my attitude. I don’t vote on the basis of “gay” issues – there are other issues that are more important to me. Civil liberties are very dear to me. This is why I am unlikely to vote Labour for a very long time (if at all).

  4. I believe he has genuinely come round to supporting marriage equality.

  5. Brenda Lana Smith R af D 25 Aug 2010, 1:40pm

    ‘legal recognition for trans people.’

    A dubious nicety that is valid within the UK only… to wit… such ‘legal recognition’ is not worth a damn on British Overseas Territories… where gender-variant folk—certificated or not—can still be discriminated with impunity…

  6. I think Ed Milliband’s positons seem quite positive and reasonable and he has obviously learned a lesson from the disastrous interview David Milliband did with Pink News some months ago (the one where David Milliband tried to defend CP Apartheid before backtracking some time later when he was told how offensive and patronising it was).

    Actually I think Pink News should have asked Ed Milliband what a Milliband family dinner is like. Is it tense? Does he get along with his brother? And if not then why should he be trusted to lead the country when he is incapable of maintaining a cordial relationship with his family?

    But I digress.

    I would also like to have confirmation from Milliband (and all Labour leadership candidates) that for all future discussions relating to the LGBT population that more than 1 LGBT group wil be present at all discusssions.

    Stonewall have failed in their mandate and are no longer fit for purpose when discussing LGBT issues with government (unless it is a specific issue such as homophobic bullying). I do not want a group which represents a mere 2% of the LGBT population deciding what is best for the 98% of the population they do not represent.

  7. Oh stop being such mean-spirited, cynical, boring old queens. He seems informed and genuine. If this guy was leader I would be tempted back from the Liberals for sure

  8. No 4: Dave: “I believe he has genuinely come round to supporting marriage equality.”

    I think the fact that 98% of the LGBT population want marriage equality will convince ALL political leaders that unless they support full legal equality; then they can kiss goodbye to LGBT support.

  9. I think this is excellent. He actually understands what all the important issues are and why they matter and he goes beyong talking about political/legislative changes needed to put it in context of the bigger picture of needing to push to change attitudes. If all that he supports were delivered it would be wonderful.

  10. Just another two faced hypocrite. After 13 year in power only NOW, after getting the boot, do nulabour believe in marriage equality.

  11. @Reb Kean
    As a twisted cynical old queen (I hope not too “boring”), I’d just like to say that I agree with you that he is “informed” – but “genuine”? He prates of Labour achievements (and also the need for Lords reform – well, you had 13 years…) but not of Labour’s mistakes (opposing gays in the military until forced to lift the ban by Europe). Compare Cameron. He opposed the repeal of Clause 28, but now admits that he was wrong. I think that tells us more about these people as individuals.

    All parties and candidates will now get on board the equality bandwagon, some faster than others. I think there are other issues to vote on, to be honest. I have to confess, though, that I have a *particular* and almost visceral dislike of Ed Miliband, so I’m hardly impartial.

  12. vulpus_rex 25 Aug 2010, 2:50pm

    He can say all he wants about gay equality, but he was still a minister in the last Labour Government.

    This man stood by, said and did nothing whilst the worst prime minister in history set about destroying our economy.

    A self promoting coward who deserves nothing but contempt for putting his political career before principle.

    (At least he’s not the repulsive Ed Balls though.)

  13. marjangles 25 Aug 2010, 2:52pm

    Johnny H, you think Cameron was being genuine when he apologised for section 28? For the first time it appeared that the Tories were winning amongst gay people and so he pandered. What good is an apology for something he had no real say in anyway? He still marched off and allied himself with the Law and Justice party.

    I am annoyed at the sudden conversion of all the Labour leadership candidates to the cause of equal marriage rights now that they’re back in opposition but at least they’re saying it and talking about campaigning for it, unlike Cameron who is ‘considering’ the matter (at least according to Gideon). How come we haven’t heard anything from the Coalition about the recent poll? Have they been asked?

  14. Johnny H, you DO realize that some of the “gay” issues ARE civil liberties issues right?

    Or is it just non-gay civil liberties that turn your crank?

  15. Let me see if I can get my head around the case that some of you are making.

    We should forgive the Tories for being rabid opponents of EVERY SINGLE gay rights measure in the past and support them now because MANY, but not anywhere near all, of them have changed their minds on MOST, but certainly not all, of those things since realizing that the country was leaving them behind.

    But we should NEVER forgive, trust or support Labour again because they fought the gay integration of the military and they only supported civil unions, which the vast majority of Tories fought, when they were in power.

    Have I got that right? Are you seriously trying to make this case?

    Next thing you know we’ll be asked to forgive Hitler but NOT Chamberlain.

  16. But Zack, the Tories love us now! I won’t be at all suprised if Sam C am brings up the little Cameronette to be a little lesbian!!!! (oh and by the way Thanks for being on side Ed Milliband!)

  17. Here’s the short version of Johnny H and vulpus_rex’s position.

    We should support the Tories because, on the issue of gay rights, many of them are now where the vast majority of Labour was TEN years ago but we shouldn’t support Labour because ten years ago they weren’t where they are now.

    Got it?

  18. “He can say all he wants about gay equality, but he was still a minister in the last Labour Government.”

    Remind us where ‘Call Me Dave’ was on gay equality, 5 years ago please?

  19. The Tories can show they are committed to gay equality by doing certain things.

    Assuming they are in power for the next 4.5 years (that is if the coalition doesn’t collapse) then the following SHOULD be achieved by then:

    1. Marriage equality
    2. A lifting (or at least an easing of the blood donation ban by gay men)
    3. All convictions for consensual gay sex (for those aged over 16) will have been lifted.

    Cameron has plenty of time to achieve all of the above.

    If he has not achieve these by the next election then it is confirmation that he is a slimy liar!

    If he HAS achieved these by the next election then it is fair to say that the Tories have changed.

  20. I am no queen but it’s easy to promise anything when you aren’t in charge
    did he try to gain marriage equalty etc when he was in gov?

  21. Like anything this bloke can come up with is of any interest to anyone. They had 13 years to sort this crap out, and only now to they decide to try and win some Brownie points. It really doesn’t matter as Labour are going to be cast into the wilderness for at least another eight years, by which time hopefully the new parliamentary reform will see that British politics is no longer a two-horse race and many other more viable alternatives will be worth voting for. They had better come up with some bloody good ideas soon, or this may well be Labour’s swan song, and frankly, I don’t think it’s a moment too soon for this bunch of leftie, inept, hypocritical liars.
    .

  22. “I am no queen but it’s easy to promise anything when you aren’t in charge
    did he try to gain marriage equalty etc when he was in gov? ”

    No he didn’t. Hs government gave us Civil Partnership apartheid.

    Which while it was inadequate is still better than what the Tories gave us the last time THEY were in power – Section 28 and a refusal to equalise the age of consent.

    But Cameron is now the PM.

    Rather than focussing on what Labour didn’t achieve, the focus should now be on what is going to happen in the next 4.5 years.

    By the time of the next election, Cameron will be judged on his own record.

    If Cameron has not achieved points 1 to 3 in my post 19 above then it will be very easy to judge his performance as regards LGBT equality.

    As for Milliband – well of course he’s going to say he now supports equality. That is the standard position of pretty much the entire political leadership these days.

    Only the BNP and Stonewall now seem to refuse to support equality.

  23. de Villiers 25 Aug 2010, 4:18pm

    >Here’s the short version of Johnny H and vulpus_rex’s position. We should support the Tories because, on the issue of gay rights, many of them are now where the vast majority of Labour was TEN years ago but we shouldn’t support Labour because ten years ago they weren’t where they are now.

    Not quite. It is more that gay people have much for which to thank the Left but should neither present the Labour party with a blank cheque nor allow the redressing of particular grievances to extinguish other defaults. Insofar as gay people should work with any government or any political party that is open or, at least, not hostile to measures relating to gay equality or gay rights, that means also not ignoring the present Right.

    What would be unfortunate is for the Right to consider that there was nothing in supporting gay rights because there were no votes in it. That would lead to a ‘core-vote’ strategy that prevailed during every election during the 2000s with the exception of the one most recent. This strategy still applies in other countries – most recently seen in Australia but also in Spain, Portugal and Italy.

    In England, the Right is in power but agrees on the principle of gay equality and may advance this further. In most of Europe, the Right agrees no such thing and when in power either ignores gay rights or seeks to restrict them. Given that the Right will at some point hold power in any country, the present English option is better than the continental European.

    Much of what the Labour party did was due not to the party itself but other left-leaning bodies, institutions and think-tanks. Gay people or organisations should be prepared to act with all other such organisations or be left with no influence.

  24. de Villiers 25 Aug 2010, 4:21pm

    I’m not sure how well I have expressed myself – but I am having a hard time in English today. de V.

  25. “In most of Europe, the Right agrees no such thing and when in power either ignores gay rights or seeks to restrict them. Given that the Right will at some point hold power in any country, the present English option is better than the continental European.”

    Hmmmm – in the Netherlands, marriage equality was achieved under a centre right government,.

    In Germany the current centre right government will update its tax system to include gay people.

    In Ireland the centre right coalition introduced CP’s.

    In order for the Tories to be taken seriously on equality issues they must introduce full marriage equality by the next election.

    They have plenty of time to achieve this, and with the LibDems in power also, there is no excuse for them to delay in this.

  26. vulpus_rex 25 Aug 2010, 4:28pm

    I don’t care about some stupid legislation introduced 25 years ago (which as far as I can see never had any real effect other than to give Lefty organisations cause for a bit of ridiculous posturing) and whereas gay rights are important they are not the only issue on which one should vote.

    I do on the other hand care about illegal wars, financial incompetence, corruption, hypocrisy and the massive abuse of our civil liberties, all of which were practiced by Labour in never seen before industrial quantities.

    The latter, Zack, is a far more accurate description of why I think people shouldn’t vote Labour.

    BTW, is it really fair to accuse the party with the most openly gay MPs, whose Vice Chairman is a lesbian, of still being homophobic – the suggestion is preposterous.

  27. “BTW, is it really fair to accuse the party with the most openly gay MPs, whose Vice Chairman is a lesbian, of still being homophobic – the suggestion is preposterous. ”

    Assuming the coalition lasts its full term, then by the next election marriage equality will have been introduced.

    Seeing as there is consensus on this pretty much across the population, the Tories have absolutely no excuse not to introduce it.

    And they have PLENTY of time.

    Like I’ve already said, we can reserve judgement on the Tories for the moment.

  28. The Tories do not support the LGBT they just tolerate us now, its a big difference that exists between the two positions!

    People like vulpus_rex go on about the public debt we are now in, yet that money would not of had to be spent if the Tory government had spent the money of schools, NHS and public infrastructure in the 80’s and early 90’s. The money had to be spent because everything was worn out and falling apart.

    One of the first thing this ConDem government did was condemn 1,000,000 kids into a life on the dole by not funding next years training and job guarantee places for those under 21.

  29. “I do on the other hand care about illegal wars, financial incompetence, corruption, hypocrisy and the massive abuse of our civil liberties, all of which were practiced by Labour in never seen before industrial quantities.”

    Because they made the tragic mistake of blindly following American Tories on each and every one of the issues that you cite WITH the support of British Tories right up until it all started going off the rails, then the Tories jumped like rats from a sinking ship.

    Tories LOVED George W. Bush and his policies until they realized just how extreme he was, then they bailed because they weren’t in power and could do so without losing face. The Labour, wrongly, felt the need to save face and stay the course.

    And as far as how many elected gay politicians each party has; I’d take a straight MP who supports FULL equality for gay citizens over a gay MP who doesn’t ANY day.

  30. @marjangles
    Yes, I do think Cameron is genuine in apologising for Clause 28. There was no political necessity in his volte-face.

    @Zack
    I would say that gay equality issues are more about human rights and equality. Civil liberties are sometimes involved (e.g. the right to privacy), but civil liberties are more to do with the limitations of the state – particularly the executive – vis-a-vis the individual.

    I do think Cameron is more genuine than Miliband – the former admits his mistakes, the latter doesn’t – or perhaps doesn’t think he’s committed any.

    I don’t support the Tories over Labour because I “forgive” them but not Labour for having a poor record on gay rights. It’s got nothing to do with gay rights. There are a number of issues, but (to take one) Labour had nothing but contempt for civil liberties, whereas the coalition show some awareness of their importance. Or are gay rights the *only* thing that determines who you support?

  31. your first but vulpus where you say that you don’t care says everything about your attitude, you don’t care to acknowledge facts, history etc and you just rant

  32. Cameron only kept the Human Rights Act to keep the Lib Dems happy.

  33. @dave
    Perhaps. Then again, Cameron has been trying to drag his party towards a more liberal and centrist position for some years. The coalition was in some ways quite convenient since it allowed him to make the transition in one bound and effectively neuter the right of his party.

  34. @paul canning
    It’s very welcome, and it shows that perhaps he can (if only by implication) criticise the government he was in. If I was being *terribly* cynical I suppose I would point out that he’s saying this (and courting the gay community generally) from a position of weakness. He’s got nothing to lose now by criticising the government he was in, since it is likely his brother will win anyway – for him this is a last throw of the dice. But of course I’d never say (or think) anything *that* cynical. I wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m bitter and twisted. (Oh, OK, I am, damnit)

  35. Yes, but Clegg was in favour of gay marriage but it is only now that they ae going to vote on it as part of their official policy.

    I’m glad the potential leaders are for gay marriage, Brown’s naff stance on it and lab gay manifesto in the last election were a joke and weren’t going to get any gay votes. They’re learning but I would prefer to him have said that they will be introducing this as official labour policy..

    It did take them ages to get the CP in with a majority govt …they’re going to have to build on this new stance of theirs to convince me….

    They also promised reform of the house of lords before but we still have that awful anti gay bishop vote and all those ageing peers who we can never get rid of…

  36. If Ed is responsible for everything done by the last government then David Cameron should take responsibility for Black Wednesday and the ERM crisis he, Norman Lamont and the John Major Conservative government caused.

  37. vulpus_rex 25 Aug 2010, 7:14pm

    Helen – Where do I mention Public Debt? It is interesting that you yourself associate debt with financial incompetence though. And should your ridiculous assertion about 1,000,000 kids on the dole ever come to pass, it will be because Gordon Brown put them there with his economic recklessness.

    Zack – the fact that Bush managed to turn Blair into his lapdog has got nothing to do with the conservative party. Tony Blair and the Labour party have got blood on their hands because Blair was a shallow, unprincipled moron obsessed with his image and legacy (Millions of dead iraqis wasn’t quite what he had in mind though).

    Oh and I doubt very much anyone, never mind the Tories would have supported the war had they known at the time Bliar’s evidence was nothing more than trumped up nonsense that he knew full well to be false. Lying, duplicitous B*start.

  38. Anyway I think he’s kinda cute! That man has got my vote :)

  39. @Reb Kean
    Out of interest, do you actually have a vote?
    If I were voting (which I’m not, since Labour aren’t bleeding-heart Dukasis’-revolving-door-policy liberal enough for me) then I’d vote Dianne Abbott.

  40. Question to lab leaders:

    If the lib dems are the first party (as usual) to officially support full marriage equality and consequently introduce a bill in this parliament will they as leaders ask their party to fully support it ?

  41. I shall be watching Ed Miliband’s progress with interest and, if he is successful in his leadership campaign and turns these stated intentions into party policy, shall avoid voting Labour next time.

  42. 17. – hear, hear. Spot on.

    Doesn’t it count for something that just a few short years ago we were living in a country where section 28 was in place, we had an unequal age of consent, there was no legal recognition for gay relationships whatsoever, etc., and now we have mainstream politicians calling openly for genuine, full LGBT equality? That looks to me like rapid, substantial progress, for which Labour (and Ed Miliband) surely deserve some credit. Isn’t it largely due to Labour’s shifting of the goalposts on LGBT issues that we now have the Tories playing catch-up?

    It’s depressing that we’ve now become so cynical about politicians that we can’t even accept that people who are out there campaigning, voting and legislating for greater LGBT equality just might deserve some credit.

  43. @G.O.
    I think Labour *do* deserve some credit, but *I* was being criticised for giving credit to Cameron for changing his mind on Clause 28, so you see it works both ways. I was also being criticised for preferring the coalition to Labour despite the fact that the Tories are always several years behind Labour on gay equality. But then, as I explained, I vote on a range of issues – not just gay rights – and some issues (e.g. civil liberties, constitutional reform, a more liberal policy on prisons/punishment) I regard as more important right now.

  44. It’s great all the potential leaders have come out for marriage equality , especially after Brown’s outrageous comments that we couldn’t have it becuase He had to balance it with relgious views.

    However, that was only a few months ago and no-one in the labour party as far as I know said that this was wrong then. In addition I think I saw in some blog that this guy intially didn’t know people were asking for it, initially his brother seemed to think that we (that is every single gay in the UK!) were all happy with CPs based on the fact that some gay mates of his were happy with it. The complete u-turn is great , but it’s not surprising some of us are a bit cynical. I really hope that one of these guys actually looks at what they said during their leadership campaign and actually delivers. They have around 5 yrs to prove themselves…on my calculation lib dems are still in front on the equality marriage and CP stake (plus they’re going for international recognition as well – something he didn’t mention?). In fact did he mention anything about promoting gay rights abroad?

    Good idea to come around last on the interview list, he certainly has taken note and done his homework. He’s ticked most of the boxes….

  45. MY sense of what is happening in England is that with the conservative – liberal dems supporting gay equality, its a race to the top, with now the Labor party trying to get their support recognized.

    Well, in general that is good.

    Here in the USA, especially in the African American churches, we see a race to the bottom. Where their leaders all try and outdo the other with their homophobia, in their goal of getting more money and more minds to corrupt in the name of God.

    I’m not being racist – its just so obvious though how the people who should be the leading supporters of gay people – given that the people who poisoned America against blacks are the same ones who also now hate gays.

    Amazing how religion can poison the minds. As it has been doing in many ways since the dawn of recorded history.

  46. paul canning 27 Aug 2010, 4:55pm

    @JohnnyH

    right to be cynical. Miliband, Ed, wrote the election manifesto which literally lumped immigration and criminality in the same section. He is, also literally, the FIRST Labour leader to acknowledge the appalling LGBT asylum record. It truly saddens me that so many LGBT, including Labour ones and others, were so quick to, as the Americans say, ‘throw under the bus’ LGBT who are ‘not one of us': i.e. Iraqis and asylum seekers – both of whom Labour well and truly sh*t on.

    It’s noteworthy simply because it’s rare. Miliband, Ed, is the only one who’s had the decency to even acknowledge what they did.

  47. Agree with much of JohnnyH’s observations. Milliband’s touching outpouring of concern all of a sudden looks pretty transparent. And the on-the-button-refernces to Fidelity and Prop8 (he’s been watching gay stuff on youtube??). Sounds like he got a gay press officer to write it. Spinny spin spin.

  48. OMAR KUDDUS GayasylumUK 4 Sep 2010, 6:32pm

    About time that more and more “celebreties” , infuental personage and the media exposed just how wrong it is to discriminate against LGBT’s
    What is however important is:
    Would it not just be simpler to make everyone EQUAL, in the eyes of the Law, based on the fact that we are all born Equal by the mere fact that we are born Human and have the same rights, feelings and emotions as our counterpart Hetrosexual fellow Human

  49. The coalition government states “We will help schools tackle bullying in schools, especially homophobic bullying”… in that case the coalition needs to address the export of American homophobia on sites such as youtube and facebook into UK society and at UK kids.. horrendous levels of hatred happening online from the usa… and it’s really bloody obvious.

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