[email protected]: Nick Clegg – While the Conservatives try to appear gay-friendly, they now stand shoulder with march-banning bigots

Over at LabourList, Nick Clegg pens a powerful post in favour of the strides taken in recent years to enshrine equal rights for gay people. Here’s an excerpt:

Like many people, in 1997 I hoped that with the right cast into the political wilderness a permanent victory for gay rights was in sight. But discrimination still lingers in the statute book, and homophobia still festers in homes, offices and classrooms. Gay rights, like all minority rights, should by now have become unquestionable. But in practice they are still too often treated like privileges, falling in and out of favour with politicians. David Cameron’s recent apology over Section 28 is a prime example. Leadership is about speaking out on issues when they matter, not simply when you judge public opinion has moved. …

I am determined that the Liberal Democrats will remain outspoken and steadfast in our defence of gay rights, from backing same sex marriage to stopping the deportation of gay asylum seekers to countries were homosexuality is punishable by death. There has been much progress in recent years, and much to celebrate. But as long as homophobia still rears its ugly head in workplaces, in classrooms, and even in the home – politicians must continue to speak out in favour of the values of gay rights. For me, it is quite simply one of the touchstones of what a liberal society should be: open, tolerant and free of prejudice.

You can read the article in full HERE.

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19 Comments

  • Can Clegg explain why the Lib Dems are part of the Liberal grouping in Europe that includes known homophobic MEP’s?

    Stones and glasshouses?

  • Helen Duffett 4th Jul '09 - 12:47pm

    So talking to supporters is the same as getting into bed with them?

    I’d better be careful on the doorsteps this weekend…

  • Helen Duffett 4th Jul '09 - 1:15pm

    Jennie: addressing the Lodge, being in bed, etc are generally private events. LabourList can be read by anyone, and Nick’s posting on there doesn’t imply any secret deals.

  • It’s good to have the first mainstream party leader to come out in favour of equal marriage, and in such clear basic liberalism terms. If only he’d done it a day or two ago it would be in our London Pride leaflets!

    Nick’s piece – perhaps due to where it is – does refrain from pointing out quite how hugely spun the “Labour” record of achievement on LGBT issues is. Whether rolling back trans employment rights (1999), throwing taxpayers money at defending the military ban, or stonewalling on other equality measures, the reforms of the last decade have happened despite Labour and thanks to the work of Lib Dems like Lord Lester and thanks to European rulings.

    Writing elsewhere, he perhaps could be more upfront about that. Labour hugely over-state their record on LGBT matters and it seems we tend to under-state ours.

  • paul barker 4th Jul '09 - 2:07pm

    when i read nicks peice on ll i half expected some of their people to object because labor politics is tribal, based on identity not ideology. thats why they can go on being labor when they disagree with most of the policies & actually hate most of the leadership.
    our politics is based on values & ideas & our leader should talk to people from other democratic parties any chance he gets. the only legitimacy nick has conferred is on the labor party itself, its a legitamate party with a right to exist.

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