Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Tories and Gay Rights - by their deeds shall you know them...

Oh look, Nick Herbert, the Tory Shadow Environment Secretary is telling the Americans that the new fluffy, cuddly Tories are best friends forever with all lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people.

Gone are the days when they introduced the likes of Clause 28. Now they embrace equality in all its forms.

Aye right.

We know their record ain't that good in the dim and distant past. No point in going over that ground again. Let's just look at how much they've changed since David Cameron became leader. The best way to judge people, I find, is not on what they say, but what they do. When they've had a say in the law, for example. How have Cameron's Tory MPs who are standing again in the current election voted on gay rights, then?

One in three, including a third of their front bench spokespeople and 4 members of the Shadow Cabinet, voted against the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations in March 2007. That effectively means that a third of the front bench, who would make up a Cameron Government, and 4 members of a Cameron cabinet thinks it's just fine to turn down someone for a job, any job, simply because they're gay. The same number think it's fine not to enshrine protection from harassment on the grounds of sexual orientation into the law.

The Conservative Party opposed The Equality Bill 2008-09. Nineteen members of the Shadow Cabinet voted to block attempts at ensuring genuine equality across the board.

So, there have been two fairly recent opportunities to show the LGBT community how much they have changed and the Tories have been found wanting in every respect.

Given that the next Tory intake is likely to see a rise in the number of socially illiberal MPs, it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that there could be a challenge to the gains made over the last decade or so. Sara posted the other day about how this new balance could affect the abortion laws, but hard won freedoms on gay rights could turn on the basis of a few Tory votes.

It's a very scary thought.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

But then, three members of the Lib Dem shadow cabinet voted the wrong way on the equality regulations too.


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