LibLink: Nick Clegg: UKIP would rather turn the clock back on LGBT rights

rainbow flag on white background  : harvey milk plaza, san francisco (2012)In an article to mark today’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, Nick Clegg has told readers of Pink News what the Liberal Democrat MEPs have done for LGBT rights both within Europe and globally:

Your Liberal Democrat MEPs have already been fighting for the rights of the LGBT community in Europe. For example, they have supported a European Parliament campaign for the recognition of equal marriage, civil partnerships and cohabitation in EU countries, as well as for the mutual recognition of these civil partnerships between different countries. They have led the campaign for new EU laws that would outlaw discrimination across Europe against LGBT people who had previously been turned away from services and businesses. Liberal Democrat MEPs have also led calls for the European council to condemn LGBT oppression in countries such as Russia and Uganda, encouraging EU countries to offer asylum to those fleeing persecution because of their sexuality or gender identity.

He contrasts this with UKIP’s record, of which we had another sharp reminder yesterday when James O’Brien confronted Nigel Farage with yet more homophobia from one of his candidates, who had said that if we “shot one poofter” 99 others would soon “decide on balance that they weren’t, after all”:

That should give every person in Britain reason to feel proud. And yet people like Nigel Farage and UKIP still won’t support it. Rather than embrace modern Britain, they’d rather turn the clock back. That’s why my party is doing everything we can to try and stop them making gains at the Euro Elections this coming Thursday. I want those elections to send as many Liberal Democrats as possible to represent Britain in the European Parliament – because we’re the people who will stand up for a Britain that is open and diverse.

And Lynne Featherstone gets a mention:

The Liberal Democrats have always fought passionately for the rights of the LGBT community – the values of equality and respect for all are central to our party. One of things I’m most proud of in government has been the introduction of same-sex marriage in England and Wales, championed by Liberal Democrat Lynne Featherstone. It’s partly thanks to equal marriage that the UK has been ranked the 1st in Europe for LGBT rights for the third year in a row.

And the point is that you actually need liberal voices championing LGBT equality because internationally, LGBT people still face persecution and discrimination:

Online petitions were started in Russia, Belarus and Armenia to try and persuade the European Broadcasting Union to remove Conchita from the competition. In Idaho, lawyers for the state have been clamouring to appeal the ruling.

So this weekend, as we mark Saturday’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, we should celebrate sexual and gender diversity – but we equally need to redouble our efforts for equality. There is still a long way to go.

You can read the whole article here.

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12 Comments

  • Bored with all the UKIP bashing. Can’t we just talk about our own policies.

    What happened to the ‘new politics’?

  • Will Mann: What did you read? I read about what Liberal Democrat MEPs have been doing. There was something in the middle about opposition to protection of rights for LGBT people;, not just UKIP but around the world. Even this ended with a Liberal call for an “open and diverse” UK.

  • Samuel Johns 17th May '14 - 11:57am

    What is the source for the UK being named no. 1 in Europe for LGBT rights? I’m genuinely interested.

  • Stuart Mitchell 17th May '14 - 12:18pm

    Nick Clegg keeps saying that the Lib Dems represent “modern Britain”, but I look at all their male/pale/stale MPs and I just don’t see it.

  • Alex Macfie 17th May '14 - 1:05pm

    How did Tory MEPs vote?

  • “That’s why my party is doing everything we can to try and stop them making gains at the Euro Elections this coming Thursday. “

    Please could someone explain to me how – under an essentially proportional electoral system – it could be the case that “In London only the Lib Dems can stop UKIP gaining MEPs”, as claimed in a Lib Dem leaflet delivered to me?

  • Richard Dean 17th May '14 - 1:43pm

    I tend to agree with Stuart Mitchell. It seems that Libdems would rather fight for LGBT rights than implement equality for women. Has the party been taken over, or has it always been that way?
    https://www.libdemvoice.org/are-the-liberal-democrats-any-closer-to-embracing-allwomen-shortlists-40130.html

  • The ironic thing is that that leaflet shows the results of two London opinion polls which supposedly back up the message about “only the Lib Dems” being able to stop UKIP gaining MEPs. In reality, if the figures are plugged into the d’Hondt formula, they show the Lib Dems nowhere near being able to deprive UKIP of its second seat. But one of the polls shows Labour within just 1% of doing that.

  • Richard Dean 17th May '14 - 6:59pm

    @Dave Page . The other main parties have succeeded in going a long way towards resolving this issue. The LibDems have failed, so an explanation is needed. The one you mention is one we might certainly want to consider – can you suggest others?

    My impression is that women are largely supportive of LGBT rights, perhaps because they feel a degree of sympathy as an oppressed group. But much of that support will likely evaporate if women start to conclude that LGBT people don’t care a hoot about women’s equality, and non-LGBT men don’t really like excessive self-focus either. The result could be a headline in a few years time “LibDems turn the clock back on LGBT rights”.

    The issue of equality for women is absolutely central to the LibDem future. The bigger the party is, the harder it will be to change. So now is the right time to resolve that issue, when the party is small. Or are you prepared to see the party crash even further before something is done?

  • Tony Rowan-Wicks 18th May '14 - 4:35pm

    I don’t know if the above comments come from Equalities Activists. I suspect not many. I am an Equalities Activist and LD member and can tell you that LDs are still the party which supports equality in all its forms and Lynne Featherstone is doing even more as a member of the government. You can join my activist messages via http://www.facebook.com/BarnetLGBT Further than that, you are welcome to join my local LGBT social group on meetup – http://www.meetup.com/BarnetLGBT – a north London group which has members from all parties and none. I believe we have a record of supporting all equality communities, gay or straight, and we reject the constant attrition some people make online of our achievements.

  • Tony Rowan-Wicks 18th May '14 - 4:38pm

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