Current Affairs

Lib Dem minister Lynne Featherstone affirms coalition’s gay rights promises

Jessica Geen September 22, 2010
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Liberal Democrat junior equality minister Lynne Featherstone said today that the coalition government has a “long-term” strategy for equal rights.

Speaking at the Liberal Democrat conference in Liverpool today, she said was “proud” of yesterday’s successful motion calling for marriage equality and promised that the government would tackle homophobic bullying, protect gay parents and use Britain’s influence abroad to encourage an end to homophobic laws.

She added that the government would get its policies “in order” on gay and lesbian asylum seekers fleeing persecution.

Ms Featherstone also attacked Labour’s record, saying the party which legalised civil partnerships had turned equalities into a “burden”.

She said: “[Equality] became a byword for bureaucracy and red-tape.

“Less about liberation and more about frustration. And if ticking boxes and filling out forms led to equality, then Britain would be a utopia of fairness and optimism.”

In May, Ms Featherstone criticised her own party’s coalition negotiators for being too “male” and “pale”.

Speaking today, she added: “We also recognise that transgender issues are often distinct and sometimes need to be addressed separately. That is why this government will be the first ever to produce an action plan on transgender equality.”

Yesterday, the conference voted in favour of a motion supporting marriage equality.

The move means that the party will lobby for civil partnerships and marriage to be opened up to all couples regardless of sexuality.

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