How The 2017 General Election Could Affect LGBT+ Rights
Make good choices...
The forthcoming general election, scheduled for the 8th of June, is one of the most important democratic decisions in recent memory. After the shocking outcome of Brexit, and various public services slipping into crisis, it’s never been more important to get a handle on the facts and vote for what you believe in.
But, no matter how much you agree with a party’s manifesto, there are always unintended consequences of your decision. Topics that may not have been touched on, or undiscussed beliefs that you might find jarring. So today, we decided to take a look through the major political parties voting records on LGBT rights, so you can make an informed decision about issues that affect you.
Though the Conservative Party have, historically been - well - conservative when it comes to LGBT rights (their poster girl Margaret Thatcher passed a law stating homosexuality couldn’t be discussed in schools for fear of “promoting the gay agenda”), they have - in recent years - mostly been supportive of top level LGBT rights. Under David Cameron, the last Tory government even legalised gay marriage. However, current leader Theresa May voted against reducing the age of consent for LGBT people from 18 to 16 (the current age for straight sex), and against equal rights for same sex parent adoptions.
Labour have - largely - been on the side of LGBT rights consistently since the 1960s - homosexuality was legalised under a Labour government. The last Labour government, under Tony Blair, brought in a number of policies to help bring about LGBT equality, such as lowering the age of consent, legalisation of civil partnerships, and making it legal to discuss homosexuality in schools. The party, currently lead by Jeremy Corbyn, seems determined to keep up the good work, pledging to impose harsher penalties on those who commit hate crimes against LGBT people, roll out PrEP across the NHS, and make sex education more LGBT-inclusive.
The Liberal Democrats, lead by Tim Farron, have a good track record on LGBT rights. During the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition, Nick Clegg was one of the pioneers of same sex marriage equality, and the party has consistently pushed for equality of blood donation (currently men who have had sex with men in the last 12 months are banned from giving blood). However, when asked whether he believes “gay sex is a sin”, Tim Farron - who is a Christian - did not deny it, stating that “we are all living in sin”. Make of that what you will.
Though they’re only one MP strong in the House of Commons, the Green Party have an incredible voting record when it comes to LGBT rights. Caroline Lucas was a passionate supporter of the same-sex marriage bill, and their 2015 election manifesto pledged equality for LGBT pension provision, an end to homophobic playground bullying, and reversing NHS cuts to vital LGBT services.
Scottish National Party
The SNP, lead by Nicola Sturgeon, are mostly interested in securing Scottish independence, but are also passionate about LGBT+ rights. They want to tackle homophobic bullying in schools, reform gender recognition law to be more inclusive of intersex and trans people, and firmly believes that equality is the first step on the road to greater prosperity.
Plaid Cyrmu, lead by Leanne Wood, also believes in tackling schoolyard homophobia, as well as ending the 12 month “gay blood ban”, ensuring harsher criminal convictions for perpetrators of LGBT hate crimes, and providing safe spaces for isolated and vulnerable people everywhere. Not much wrong there, tbh!
Paul Nuttall, Ukip’s leader since Farage’s most recent resignation, has gone on record saying he believes the plans to tackle homophobic bullying in schools is “politically correct nonsense”. This is also a party that was strongly opposed to the same-sex marriage bill. Enough said.
If the above hasn’t made your decision any easier, then this amazing chart from MyGayVote.com should help clear things up a bit. Here is how much support various LGBT issues have received from the three main parties…
- Words by Josh Pappenheim
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