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Comment: What the reshuffle means for LGBT support in the government

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  1. Robert Brown 7 Sep 2012, 6:41pm

    Whilst I like the article, I think you need to look further afield and see how many Labour MPs actually voted against an equal age of consent when Edwina Currie first tried to implement it.

    Labour MPs have also voted (in quite large numbers) to discriminate against the LGBT community if you happen to be someone of faith (see my newsletter) and the figures Chris uses against the LibDems are misconstrued as if one of two LibDem MPs happen to be away for a vote, then they percentage is higher against (or not voting).

    You really have to look at the actual percentage or numbers of MPs voting against LGBT equality rather than the overall voting record for an accurate account.

    You also have to look at right wing Labour MPs, including Kate Hoey for Vauxhall, who only have a 12% voting record in support of LGBT rights.

    Robert
    http://www.rainbow-citizen.com

    1. Chris Ward 7 Sep 2012, 7:27pm

      Hi Robert,

      I don’t think I use any figures against the Lib Dems – an 81.4% record isn’t bad is it? I also give Lynne Featherstone the credit she deserves on the proposed equal marriage legislation, so I don’t think I was too unfair.

      I agree there are MPs of all parties with awful LGBT rights records. Don’t worry, I don’t forget them, and when they’re in my party I’ll happily cause trouble. :)

      The article was looking at support within the reshuffled government as opposed to the House of Commons as a whole (which has been covered in depth by C4EM). The people in the government/opposition front benches are the ones with influence, so this is why I decided to shine a bit of a light on them specifically.

    2. Dave Page 8 Sep 2012, 9:33am

      And Stonewall’s %age scores for MPs rate down people who voted for laws on homophobic/biphobic/transphobic discrimination to work on the same lines as religious hatred, rather than racial hatred – despite the person who wrote the law on racial hatred saying that it’s proved unworkable in practice and that the “offense intended” clause of religious hatred was a good one.

      This allows Stonewall to mark down the Lib Dems who opted for effective legislation and mark up Labour MPs who opted to send an unworkable message.

  2. Nice and unbiased article. A member of the labour party believes that the labour party would offer the best record for LGBT people. Well there’s a shock.

    1. Robert J Brown 7 Sep 2012, 8:49pm

      Considering Labour continued a lot of LGBT inequality . . .

      Robert
      http://www.rainbow-citizen.com

      1. Dave Page 8 Sep 2012, 9:43am

        And most things that Labour did for LGBT people, such as permitting them to serve openly in the armed forces, they were compelled to do by the ECHR…

        Phil Woolas introducing the Gender Recognition Bill was my favorite admission of this – “The timetable for the Gender Recognition Bill [...] was drafted in response to the need to protect the British taxpayer against liabilities as a result of the judgment by the European Court of Human Rights.”

  3. I see something missing in this article.

    Something that Lynne Featherstone started was work surveying and working on how the government might better help and support trans people. The headline to your article is about the affect of the reshuffle on LGBT but you miss this out. Obviously equal marriage is higher important to trans folk but it is not the only issue. How is the reshuffle going to affect this? Have we had any news on this? If you separate out the voting on for example the gender recognition act – what kind of data does this give us? When it comes to dealing with things covered and controlled by the government I think there is more affecting trans people than other LGB folks. When you come out as LGB for example you don’t have to worry about writing to the DLVA, the tax office, DWP (if claiming benefits), regular NHS appointments, then a couple of years down the line get divorced if you’re married so you can get a new birth certificate. etc etc

    1. Chris Ward 7 Sep 2012, 9:08pm

      Very fair point!

    2. Dave Page 8 Sep 2012, 9:41am

      And since it never came to a vote, this article doesn’t notice things like Labour choosing not to debate Lynne Featherstone’s amendments to the 2010 Equalities Act extending protection to all trans* people, regardless of surgical status or intention…

    3. Agreed. I wonder how GEO is progressing on implementation of its Transgender Action Plan?

      I do wonder what was behind Lynne F’s removal from her equality role.

  4. Chris, Thank you for a good article :-)

  5. This is a great article, really valuable. Thanks so much for posting!

  6. When it comes down to whether a MP is going to support SS marriage or not then I generally look at what the support page of the C4EM pages say rather than what a MP has voted for in the past.

    The campaign for SS marriage has been running for ages, every MP by now has been able to formulate an opinion on it in principle. I can’t believe the number of MPs who are still sitting on the fence. They can’t be trusted and as far as I can see they are just sitting on the fence waiting to see how best to vote for their own jobs sake rather than declaring their opinion now.

    It’s incredibily disappointing to see the C4EM support number stalling at 261!!!. Way below a majority vote for SS marriage.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 8 Sep 2012, 2:45pm

      Maybe once they see France passing a first bill in October it may make them summon the courage to support it. I remember when the CP bill was passed, it didn’t exactly receive a huge majority. I think equal marriage will have a tougher time getting through because many in opposition consider them sufficient. In a way I wished we’d never had them because of this reticence among those MPs and the politicaly expediency of those who care only for their jobs and not for the people, including gay people they are supposed to represent. I would have preferred a whipped vote to guarantee passage. Conscience votes do nothing more than to allow bigots to vote against it or abstain. If there were the luxury of having sufficient numbers to see it pass, similar to French President Francis Hollande’s government, then I’d go along with a conscience vote. If it’s voted down, this will only give Cameron a free pass in saying he tried. The next leader of the Tory party won’t be as progressive.

  7. PeterinSydney 9 Sep 2012, 4:44am

    The Murdoch owned “The Australian” predicts that Cameron will put off legislation for marriage equality to placate the conservatives. Let’s hope this is just Murdoch’s mob being nasty.

  8. Spanner1960 9 Sep 2012, 11:10am

    An interesting perspective.
    I think a lot of people that assume that say, somebody who votes against the gay B&B debacle is automatically homophobic, and would naturally vote against gay marriage, but I think this is far too a simplistic attitude.

    To a certain degree, I can understand the reasoning toward the B&B vote because some may be more supportive of religious rights over LGBT ones; that does not necessarily indicate they are homophobic, but that their priorities lie in a different direction.

    I got badmouthed for suggesting not long back that we have double standards where Christians are not allowed to discriminate against gay people, yet gay bars should be allowed to discriminate against straight people.

    Many LGBT people see the whole gay rights issue as a collective subject, and any criticism of it or its proponents is automatically designated ‘homophobic’, whereas one should look at this from a politicians perspective where they are trying to juggle many different people

  9. “Statistics can paint a very slanted view, so take these at face value.”

    Mr. Ward appears to misunderstand the expression “take at face value,” or is that a typo?

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