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First published at eurOut.

Would you think someone who has a record of consistently voting against lgbt rights (10 against, 8 absent, 1 pro) has a good chance of becoming Minister for Equality? No? Well, think again!

The only case in which Theresa May (Conservative) voted pro-gay was her voting in favour of the Civil Partnership Bill in 2004. Other than that she has, for example, voted against lowering the age of consent for homosexuals and against the right for same-sex couples to adopt. Yet, Theresa May is the new Minister for Women and Equality in the UK.

Photo: UK Home Office.

She admits that she has been absent for quite a high percentage of votes, but points out that her party has "some very real commitments, for example in terms of homophobic bullying in schools." (Pink News) She also released a message for Internatinal Day Against Homophobia.
This means supporting civil partnerships, tackling homophobic bullying wherever it occurs, changing the law regarding historic convictions for consensual gay sex and using our international influence to put pressure on countries where LGB&T people are persecuted.
Theresa May on IDAHO (Pink News)
I suppose Theresa May deserves to be judged by what she will accomplish as Minister for Equality; she is a conservative after all and it is not surprising that in the past she has voted along the party lines. Never the less, it doesn't leave much cause for hope. Indeed there already is a fairly strong campaign (over 65,000 facebook members and counting) calling for her resignation.

Lynne Featherstone (Liberal Democrats), Junior Minister for Women and Equality, does sound quite hopeful, though. In her blog she points out that the conservative manifesto contains some surprisingly liberal intentions. Namely changing the rules for gay people fleeing persecution to be granted asylum; fighting for unequivocal support for gay rights around the world, and use international groups like the Commonwealth to put pressure on countries to tackle persecution of LGBT people; change the law to remove the requirement to disclose historical convictions for consensual gay sex; and tackle homophobic bullying including a new category of exclusion data specifically for homophobic abuse.

Photo: Lynne Featherstone.

I made it clear - to the delight of the assembled ranks - that there would be no roll back of equalities on my watch.
Lynne Featherstone: Equalities

Will I get our whole agenda agreed - well I might - but there are a few things I can see causing ructions - but I am optimistic about most of it.
Lynne Featherstone: Doing - Not saying!
Let's hope that Lynne Featherstone, who has been Shadow Minister for Equality in the past years, can keep up her endearing enthusiasm and use it to put some pressure on Mrs May.

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joan_psmith: name icon (Default)
Joan Y. Psmith
"Because we're grown-ups now, and it's our turn to decide what that means."
~ xkcd

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