Stonewall today launches its 2010 general election campaign encouraging Britain’s 2.8 million gay voters to ‘use your vote’. This follows a debate last night at an official LGB hustings, hosted by Village Drinks in support of Stonewall.
To help voters decide, Stonewall today publishes suggested questions to ask candidates and voting records of all current MPs on key equality issues since 2005. Visit www.stonewall.org.uk/election2010 to view these and Stonewall’s full general election asks.
‘Voters are still rightly anxious about which way candidates have recently voted on gay equality,’ said Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill. ‘Stonewall’s happy to provide voters with clear, impartial information on MPs’ voting records and assure them that every single pink vote can make a difference to the daily lives of nearly four million lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Britain.’
Stonewall’s election demands are that
• Parties commit to full implementation of the new Equality Act to end second-class treatment for gay taxpayers by public services
• Police forces across Britain deal robustly with homophobic hate crime
• Every local authority and school – including faith schools – takes steps to tackle the epidemic of homophobic bullying in our schools
• The House of Commons starts to reflect the whole of modern Britain – particularly the under-representation of out lesbian and gay people in parliament
• Fairness is promoted globally so Britain is a beacon to the world on equality.
At last night’s lesbian and gay hustings, chaired by Ben Summerskill, the panel was united in recognising the seriousness of homophobic bullying in our schools.
Chris Bryant MP, Labour’s Europe Minister, said: ‘Twelve European states recognise same-sex relationships yet fail to recognise UK civil partnerships. This must be changed.’
Nick Herbert MP, Conservative Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, highlighted the prevalence of homophobia in sport and added: ‘In my view equality should trump religion. However, gay people shouldn’t be treated as interest groups to be bartered for.’
Lynne Featherstone MP, Liberal Democrat Equality Spokeswoman, called for an end to the ban on gay men giving blood: ‘There can’t be a blanket ban. I know gay people who are far safer in terms of giving blood than some heterosexuals.’
Chris Smith, the Green Party’s leading gay parliamentary candidate, described his party as ‘the natural choice for progressive politics, we’ve got the strongest LGBT policies.’
Stonewall will be asking all the main party leaders to sign up to a homophobia-free election campaign. We’ll also be promoting our eye-catching ‘Use Your Vote’ election visuals – designed in a nationwide competition of graphic design students.