Theresa May called out for record on gay rights

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Theresa May’s voting record on the introduction of past equality legislation has been called into question at a hustings event for LGBT voters. reports citing Independent.

Speaking during a debate - hosted by Stonewall, Pink News and Pride in London - Lord Brian Paddick urged the audience to look at the Prime Minister’s historic record on LGBT issues.

Despite Ms May voting for the introduction of same-sex marriage four years’ ago, she has been criticised previously for voting against repealing section 28 in 2000 – a piece of legislation introduced in 1988 that banned the promotion of homosexuality in British schools.

She also voted against an equal age of consent and same-sex adoptions but in 2010 the Prime Minister conceded: “I have changed my mind. If those voters were taken today, I would take a different tone.”

In his closing statement, the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Brian said: “The thing I can’t let pass though – it was Lynne Featherstone, a Liberal Democrat MP, who championed same-sex marriage in the coalition and got it through with David Cameron’s support. I would urge people to look at Theresa May’s voting record on LGBT issues.”

Mr Paddick, whose statement was met with a loud applause by the audience on Tuesday evening, added: “All I would say is look at Theresa May’s voting record on LGBT issues. Look at Tim Farron’s record on LGBT issues and you will see who is the true champion of LGBT issues of the party leaders”.

But Justine Greening, the Education Secretary, who last year revealed she was in a same-sex relationship, represented the Conservatives on the panel and defended the Prime Minister’s record.

In her opening statement, Ms Greening said: “Under this Government, since 2010, we’ve passed same-sex marriage. Who did that? Actually it was Theresa May as Home Secretary. We’ve also toughened up on areas like reporting hate crime, since 2013 the police had to gather and collate stats on LGBT hate crime and then publish it. Actually who did that? It was Theresa May.”

She continued: “We’ve been on a long journey as a country in improving LGBT+ rights. This is human rights, we need to be very, very clear. We’re talking about human rights.

Speaking at the event Ms Greening, who is also the minister for equalities, added the Government would “100 per cent” commit to safeguarding rights after Britain’s exit from the European Union, including LGBT rights.

“Overwhelmingly many of them are already enshrined in the Equalities Act,” she added at the London School of Economics. “But we will make sure we have no backward steps in this area through leaving the European Union.”

“Why would have any intention of unpicking this stuff? We are the party that brought forward same sex marriage.”

She added the Conservatives are already reviewing the Gender Recognition Act. “Although it was world leading at the time it was brought in, it now needs to be updated and made fit for purpose.

“We shouldn’t be seeing people who want to change their gender as having some medical illness. We should be seeing it as absolute choice that people want to make."

But Sarah Champion, Labour’s shadow women and equalities minister, added it was “one of the things that scares [her] most”.

“It’s not about whether we do or do not negotiate,” she said. “It’s actually about the equalities and human rights commission we have right now, which is going to be our main body which we try to bring forward discrimination cases.

"It’s going to be our main body to protect us. Under this Government it has lost 70 per cent of its funding, so it is on its knees at the moment.

2017.05.31 / 18:47
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