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Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley: As a Christian, I know gay sex is not a sin

Jonathan Bartley April 28, 2017

PinkNews Exclusive
Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley writes for PinkNews on the launch of their LGBTIQA+ manifesto, criticising Lib Dem leader Tim Farron over his gay sex is a sin row.

For LGBTIQA+ people this election started in a depressing fashion.

Tim Farron’s refusal until Wednesday to say whether he thought gay sex was a sin was extremely disappointing, but the fact that it’s the only story in town when it comes to equality is even more worrying.

I’m a Christian – and my politics is of course affected by my faith – that’s why I will not hesitate in saying that I believe that gay sex is no sin.

Indeed, and without wanting to make readers feel uncomfortable, I’d go as far as saying that sex is something to celebrate.

For the leader of the Liberal Democrats to hesitate for so long on this question – especially with his questionable voting record – will no doubt make many people think twice about supporting a party that has, in fairness, been very strong on defending the rights of LGBTIQA+ people.

These are troubling times for those fighting for LGBTIQA+ equality. From Trump’s election across the Atlantic, to Theresa May’s threat to repeal the Human Rights Act – we’re at risk of going backwards after years of progress.

Here in Britain people continue to suffer violence and discrimination. According to GALOP four in five LGBTIQA+ people have experienced hate crime related to their gender identity or sexual orientation in their lifetime, with a quarter experiencing violent hate crime.

59 per cent of trans youth said they had deliberately hurt themselves, compared with 8.9 percent of all 16 to 24-year-olds. Young LGBTIQA+ people are at serious risk of homelessness after new cuts to housing benefits for young people came into force earlier this month.

The Government is failing to invest properly in PrEP – a desperately needed HIV prevention drug and Britain continues to deport asylum seekers to countries where they face extreme violence.

Those engaged in this struggle have never believed that their fight is near completion, but to be facing such turbulence to the arc of progress is deeply worrying.

Today I’ll join our equalities spokesperson, Aimee Challenor, in launching our LGBTIQA+ manifesto in a church in London.

I’m proud of the role that the Green Party has played in the LGBTIQA+ struggle.

From the groundbreaking work of our assembly members in London who introduced the first same-sex couples register, to our MEPs who have fought for trans rights across Europe – we will always use our elected positions to give a voice to the many groups battling for justice.

In the manifesto we’re launching today we’re proposing a raft of policies to better defend equality.

It includes a pledge to protect asylum seekers from being deported to places where they face persecution, a commitment to fully fund PrEP on the NHS and moves to defend Intersex people too.

We would also reverse the callous cuts to housing benefit that came into force this month – and restore our public sector to ensure that everyone has access to the specialist services they need.

While some parties want LGBTIQA+ issues off the political agenda, we want them to be front and centre.

In politics today a narrow vision for our country has taken root. The talk is of hard borders and traitors – and some are trying to label those offering an alternative to business as usual as some kind of enemy of the state.

The Green Party will never hesitate in defending equality – and we’ll always put the rights of LGBTIQA+ people at the core of everything we do.

Read PinkNews’ full report on the party’s manifesto here.

More: 2017, Caroline Lucas, election, Gay, general, General Election 2017, green party, Jonathan Bartley, lesbian, LGBT, lgbtiqa, Queer, UK

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