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Jeremy Hunt gets standing ovation for backing LGBT lessons in schools

Emma Powys Maurice June 23, 2019

UK Prime Minister candidate Jeremy Hunt has voiced his strong support for LGBT-inclusive lessons in schools, saying his party must “leave no stone unturned” in ensuring every school in the UK is getting “the right message across to our children.”

The Secretary of State was asked his view on teaching children about LGBT+ relationships at a hustings event on Saturday (June 22).

He responded: “For me, being gay is like being left-handed, it’s something you’re born with, and it’s not something you choose, it’s not something you can change. And that’s why we need to recognise every child needs to understand that.”

His comments reportedly received a standing ovation from the audience of Conservative party members in Birmingham, which is at the centre of the LGBT+ lessons debate. Hunt continued: “We have to leave no stone unturned in making sure that every school, including faith schools, is making sure that we get the right messages across to our children.”

The contender for Number 10 tweeted a video of the exchange alongside a further message of support for the LGBT+ community.

Jeremy Hunt’s record on LGBT+ rights

After other leadership hopefuls Esther McVey and Andrea Leadsom said parents should be able to withdraw their children from LGBT-inclusive lessons in schools, Hunt is choosing to take a different approach by showing open support for the LGBT+ community.

It’s a refreshing stance which corresponds with his aim to win young people back to the Conservative party. The applause from the Conservative audience may suggest that the party is beginning to lean in a more LGBT-friendly direction after more than half of the party voted against same-sex marriage in 2013.

Unlike many Conservatives, Hunt has voted almost consistently in favour of LGBT+ rights, including same-sex marriage and the Equality Act.

However, in 2008 he voted in favour of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, which would restrict access for lesbian couples seeking to conceive children through IVF treatment. Fortunately, the bill was rejected.

While serving as Health Secretary, Hunt dodged the responsibility of lifting the ban on gay men donating blood in Northern Ireland. Although he said in 2014 that he “absolutely wanted” the ban to be lifted, he maintained it was a matter for Northern Ireland’s devolved parliament. The ban was eventually repealed in 2016, five years after the rest of the UK.

 

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