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Nicola Sturgeon vows to use SNP influence in hung parliament to champion ‘world-leading’ LGBT reforms

Emma Powys Maurice December 10, 2019
SNP

Nicola Sturgeon MSP kicks off the SNP's Campaign Bus Tour on December 5, 2019 in South Queensferry, Scotland. (Mark Runnacles/Getty)

The Scottish National Party (SNP) is pledging to lead the world in LGBT+ rights reforms as it releases its LGBTI Equality manifesto.

The SNP is the only major party to release a specific LGBT+ manifesto ahead of the election on Thursday, although most other parties have included extensive LGBT+ pledges in their general manifestos.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said the party would use its influence in a hung parliament to lock Boris Johnson out of No 10 and secure reforms from the UK government to boost equality and human rights.

“At this crucial election, a vote for the SNP is a vote to champion LGBTI equality, escape Brexit, and put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands – not Boris Johnson’s,” she said.

“I’m proud that under the SNP government Scotland has become the best country in the UK for LGBTI rights, and is among the best in the world. We are committed to going further to secure full equality for LGBTI people.”

The manifesto proudly states that the SNP has “led the way” with LGBT+ rights and protections in the UK. “We reformed sex laws and have delivered the most progressive and extensive equal marriage, LGBTI hate crime and Turing Laws,” it says.

“We opened up adoption and IVF for same-sex couples, we made Scotland the first country in the UK to approve the provision of PrEP by the NHS, we reformed blood donation rules, and we are committed to ensuring LGBTI inclusive education across Scotland.”

Claiming theirs is “the most extensive LGBTI equality manifesto of any major party”, the SNP commits to furthering its reputation for LGBT+ progress by introducing a ‘X’ gender marker on passports, further discrimination protections, and NHS-funded PrEP across the UK.

The “world-leading package of improvements” also includes the ambitious promise to publish a draft Gender Recognition bill for Scotland by the end of the year.

Nicola Sturgeon campaigning in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire (Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty)

The Equality manifesto lists several pledges not covered by any other major party, such as a ban on so-called conversion therapy and improvements to the Turing Law, allowing more gay and bisexual men to be pardoned for previous discriminatory offences.

Like Labour, the SNP promises to advance LGBT+ rights on the international stage by appointing a special LGBT+ envoy, “to make LGBTI equality an integral part of UK foreign policy”.

They go a step further by also promising reforms to the asylum system so that LGBT+ asylum seekers are granted protection in the UK and not forced into arbitrary detention. They are the only party besides the Liberal Democrats to offer this.

“There is nothing inevitable about a Boris Johnson majority at this election – and as the main challenger in every Tory-held seat in Scotland a vote for the SNP on Thursday can lock Boris Johnson out of No 10 by depriving him of the majority he craves,” Sturgeon said.

“The SNP will stand against the threat that a Tory Brexit poses – and defend LGBTI equality and human rights against any attempt to roll back progress.”

More: Boris Johnson, general election, GRA Reform, manifesto, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland, SNP, spousal veto, Turing Law

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