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Comment: The gay rights debate should avoid political point scoring

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  1. Ah yes, Policy Exchange. That bastion of independent inquiry and impartiality.

    “And, in fairness, to the Liberal Democrats, their record on gay rights has been light years ahead of both Labour and the Tories – committing to a gay rights policy as early as 1975.”

    Would that be the same Liberal Democrats (or the Liberal Party as they were known at the time) who organised a threatening, homophobic hate campaign against Peter Tatchell when we was standing for Labour in Bermondsey in 1983?

    Was there an MP among the Liberals or SDP that I wasn’t aware of who came out before Labour’s Chris Hughes did in 1984?

    1. The threatening, homophobic hate campaign (including publishing Peter’s home details) was organised by the “independent Labour” candidate, over whom Peter was selected by the constituency Labour party, as Peter’s record of the by-election shows.

      Simon Hughes used the “straight choice” line which has been used on election leaflets for decades. Some gay campaigners, some of whom were Liberal, wore “I’ve been kissed by Peter Tatchell” stickers in protest at Peter not being out about his sexuality while standing as a Parliamentary candidate.

      But go ahead and accuse the Liberals of a threatening, homophobic hate campaign if you like, never mind the facts.

      1. Chris Ward 9 Oct 2012, 12:03pm

        Yup, the campaign from the SDP-Liberal alliance wasn’t homophobic at all. Presumably that’s why Simon Hughes has apologised for it. Because it wasn’t homophobic.

  2. El Gabal that wasn’t the Liberal Democrats, it was the SDP-Liberal Alliance = two separate parties.

    You are referring to ONE leaflet in the campaign which used the phrase “This election is A STRAIGHT CHOICE”. A phrase, like two horse race, that had been used in other Liberal-SDP Alliance material previously where no candidates were openly gay. Yes it is possible that the choice of wording by the drafter of the flyer was homophobic, something for which Simon Hughes subsequently apologised, but it’s hardly threatening!

    Just because Labour had the first out gay MP doesn’t mean they somehow “win” – especially as there have always been far fewer Lib Dem MPs! I for one think it’s more impressive that despite having no gay MPs the Lib Dems and their predecessors have supported gay rights since 1975. But that’s just me.

    1. @Daniel

      My description was accurate. Hughes was a member of the Liberal Party (today a member of the Liberal Democrats) during the time they were allied with the SDP, besides which the SDP-Liberal Alliance were effectively the same people that the Liberal Democrats are today anyway.

      I’m sorry. I can’t just take your word for it that the Liberals supported gay rights since 1975. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. And it wasn’t just ONE leaflet. Liberals wore badges saying “I have been kissed by Peter Tatchell”. Homophobic graffiti was strewn across the walls of Bermondsey and anonymous homophobic leaflets. I’m not saying the Liberals were to blame for all of it or that Labour WIN anything (every major party was very complicit in homophobia in this time), nor am I bitter towards Simon Hughes, but they did profit from it, which rather undermines the picture Policy Exchange are trying to paint here.

  3. “The parliamentary Conservative Party has more openly gay and lesbian MPs than Labour and the Liberal Democrats put together.”

    Just a hunch, but might this have something to do with the fact the Tories have more MP’s full stop than Labour and the Lib Dems put together?

    While not exactly the homophobic party it used to be (the same can be said of the Liberals), the Conservative Party is more interested in placating gay people of the priviledged white variety most likely to vote Tory or run for parliament with a blue florette than improving the lives of the vast majority of lesbian and gay people.

    Asylum seekers are still (absurdly) required to “prove” their homosexuality before they can be considered for refugee status, irrespective of the consequences of sending them back, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (a lifeline for many people discriminated against at work) has been starved of funding and Gove turned a blind eye to homophobic material distributed in state schools

  4. Dave North 3 Oct 2012, 10:27pm

    Perhaps if you took your nose out of the political and religious arenas, you may see over the hubris and recognize the whole thing for what it is.


    I see no point scoring.

    I want the same rights as my sister and her husband.

    They set up home.

    They love each other.

    They confirmed to society that they do in a registry office.

    Giving themselves legal rights over each other.

    I and my CIVIL partner pay fortunes in taxes given our lack of kids status, so why are we not allowed by the state the same rights my sister shares with her hubby?

    Lets face it. Politics is about people talking cr@p and fooling others into believing it.

    “Life” is about living in the space and experiences you created for yourself and were given or forced on you whether good or bad, and experiencing / learning from the cr@p others fling at you.

    There is nothing to debate.

    I want just the same as everyone else I see around me.

    1. Spanner1960 5 Oct 2012, 11:30am

      I fully agree with you here.
      That said, unlike many here I try to look at the bigger picture.
      It’s no good voting for a party that supports total gay rights if they have other policies that could potentially wreck the country.

      As a gay man, LGBT rights are obviously more important to me than they are for the average straight couple, but they are only one facet of a much wider scope, and one has to decide on one’s politics (and vote) based on more than just the one aspect, however appealing it may be.

  5. How about just NOT painting over history?

    How about just judging people on their actual actions? Why is this considered so radical and unfair? Someone repeatedly fights against GBLT rights, they vote against us, they campaign against us, they make speeches full of hate speech against us…

    But it’s considered political points’ scoring to not pretend that never happened? To not pretend that it doesn’t matter? Why does being “unbiased” mean playing obedient pet to our abusers?

    We’re not talking about the distant history of past politicians that have now retired as so many of these apologists try to tell us – these homopbobes are still in the Tory party and in positions of power. But we’re to ignore that or we’re “scoring politicsl points”

    But the quislings keep coming, hug a bigot for the Tories, close your eyes to the blood on their hands, they don’t mind the stains after all

    1. de Villiers 5 Oct 2012, 12:19am

      It is disgusting to call someone a quisling. Really disgusting. To compare a democrat with with a fascist Nzai collaborator is sickening.

      1. Spanner1960 5 Oct 2012, 11:32am

        I think you will find the term has fallen into common usage, and is not intended as a direct comparison.

      2. I’m more than happy with the term. Quisling is someone who turns against their own to work with people who would happily see their group cast aside or cast out with no respect for their human rights or dignity

      3. ...Paddyswurds 5 Oct 2012, 12:11pm

        DeVilliers …
        …do you have anything to say aside from constantly editorialising other posters comments… Quisling, you should know is a perfectly legitimate term to use in this particular instance.
        Similar to your quisling sucking up to the Abrahamic cults who consider you an abomination and intrinsically disordered and un worthy of the equal rights the rest of society enjoys….

        1. de Villiers 5 Oct 2012, 6:02pm

          Paddy, you are just a caricature.

  6. The delay and consultation periods are nothing but brinksmanship, there is no excuse for it other than political expediency.

    1. OR maybe for cosulting perhaps? The consultation is leaning more towards allowig religious marriages than before the consultation and this is despite the questionable 600,000 petition from the C4M and rampant Daily Mail hate mongering
      It’s called testing the water and/or progress, take your pick

      1. Even the matter of religious marriage is a no-brainer. The matter of allowable religious exemptions has been covered before, in depth, which is why there are religious exemptions clauses in the Equality Act 2010. That’s just not good enough excuse.

      2. ...Paddyswurds 5 Oct 2012, 12:14pm

        This is a Tory ploy to ensure Marriage Equality fails and if you had the brain of an amoeba you would see that…..

      3. I’m sorry Tiagra, but the religious being allowed to conduct marriages, if they wish, has nothing to do with the consultation in England and Wales and everything to do with events in Scotland.

        The morons in Westminster realised they’re going to look pretty foolish if Scotland legalises marriage equality with religious participation and they don’t.

        The consultation was a colossal waste of time and money, which is just par for the course in UK politics, nothing to do with a conspiracy against gay people and nothing to do with party politics.

  7. Couldn’t agree more, much better than some of the opinionated rubbish we usually hear from some interviewed by Pink News

  8. Personally I think this piece let’s in some much needed sanity. Of course I find it weird that LGBT people would vote Tory (or Labour who were very anti-marriage equality just over two years ago!!) but LGBT rights are more important than in-fighting.

    There is no need to pretend the history of homophobia in Parliament doesn’t exist but there is a need to find common ground across partisan lines to ensure LGBT people get ever closer to equality.

  9. GingerlyColors 4 Oct 2012, 9:18am

    Gay rights are for everybody, regardless of political allegiance. The gay rights movement has always been associated with parties on the left of the political spectrum but just because someone is gay doesn’t make them a socialist. Some gay men are part of the fox huntin’, shootin’,. Tory votin’ country set.

  10. i got so depressed at the lazty thinking on the benifits of marriage. yes ther exist data that married people live longer and are healthier than thier none married peer but it is not the act of marriage that has confired the benifit. as all hetosexuals are free to marry the once who chose too are likely to be the people who are more setted, stable and pro-commitment. it is these factors rather than the marrige service that confirs the benifit. by all means promote commitment and stablity but don’t delude youself that a mear public ceremony will make any differance.

  11. Craig Denney 4 Oct 2012, 12:53pm

    1, equal age of consent
    2, ended discrimination against Lesbian & Gay partners for immigration purposes
    3, given LGBT individuals and couples the right to adopt children
    4, scrapped the homophobic Section 28
    5, banned discrimination in the workplace
    6, created the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
    7, included homophobia in the definition of hate crimes & increased sentencing for homophobic hate crimes
    8, removed outdated offences such as gross indecency and buggery
    9, produced and implemented the Gender Recognition Act
    10,created the Civil Partnerships
    11,outlawed discrimination in good and services
    12,fertility treatment for Lesbians on the NHS
    13,introduced the Equality Act

    What exactly has the Coalition done so far?

    1. roderious 6 Oct 2012, 9:28pm

      I’m not a labour supporter but I’m happy to acknowledge that they brought in all those things (opposed by the Conservative party, including much of its current leadership) and also throught the executive branch of government encouraged police forces to prosecute in cases of crime against LGBT people, and encouraged schools to develop anti bullying strategies to prevent LGBT suicides – both of which were condemned as ‘political correctness gone mad’ by leading Tories.

      Labour weren’t perfect of course, their pandering to xenophobic daily mail types meant that they ignored the plight of LGBT refugees, whilst pandering to their business supporters meant they supported countless brutaly homophobic regimes abroad – in the case of Iraq overthrowing one regime by force and replacing it with an even more brutal one. That being said the tories would probably have done the same.

  12. Aaarrrggghhh!!

    What is PN thinking commissioning this article?

    The very term “Think Tank” infers a self-interested, paid for lobby group pushing an agenda on half of invisible forces, so we’re hardly likely to get an objective viewpoint here (the clue’s in PN’s own intro “…the deputy director of the INFLUENTIAL Policy Exchange think-tank…”).

    Leave this piffle to the comment pages of The Guardian, stop editorialising ala The Daily Mail, and get back to reporting pink-tinged news for heaven’s sake.

    Oh, and commission non-partisan writers to pen your comment pieces!

    1. Samuel B. 5 Oct 2012, 3:17pm

      And absolutely no exceptions, no matter how dishy the scribes may be!

  13. damnedfilth 8 Oct 2012, 4:38pm

    And remember, El Gabal, the Liberals were the ones who had a leader who tried to get his gay ex lover shot by a hitman. But of course, being Liberals, they couldn’t even do that properly and shot the dog instead

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