Liberal Democrats

Who Should LGBT+ People Vote For?

General Election fever is in full-swing. Different areas of society are being urged, swayed and pleaded with to vote a certain why. With that in mind, who should the LGBT+ citizens of the United Kingdom be voting for next month? Labour? The Lib Dems? The Greens? The major seven UK parties are all very different on their vision for the next steps in LGBT+ equality and here’s why;

The en vogue parties in the LGBT+ community right now are without a doubt the Labour party and the Green party, with the latter soaring in support from gay, bisexual and transgender people. In fact, just this week Peter Tatchell called out for us to vote Green next month to further the agenda of equality. Now, I have looked at the Green party manifesto and everything they want to do for the LGBT+ community is nice, fluffy and genuinely quite lovely, but too typically of them – vapid. There is very little substance to what they specifically would do to help those in the LGBT+ community. Bar misleading claims that Caroline Lucas was the one that drove the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act through the last parliament, the Greens actually have a weak case for the gay vote.

The Labour party are also being touted as champions of LGBT+ rights, despite failing to place Marriage Equality in their 2010 manifesto and even this year their offer is very slim too, only outlining an LGBT Rights Envoy to promote human rights internationally – a good idea but ultimately, it’s not a lot. Plaid Cymru make a positive contribution in their manifesto and are probably the second best choice in this election – with a clear strategy to tackle specific acts of LGBT+ discrimination in many different areas. Their nationalist counterparts the SNP are surprisingly quiet on the subject. In spite of being on the social left; they offer nothing more than an a mirror of Labour’s international ambassador plan. Unsurprisingly, the Conservatives, who probably think the work for LGBT+ equality is done with the passing of same-sex marriage under Cameron’s premiership, offer absolutely nothing specific in their manifesto. UKIP are similarly mute, they haven’t even pledged to increase homosexual activity during drought season. Apparently Farage’s “people’s army” is “not driven by the needs of differing special interests groups”. I guess his is a heterosexual people’s army instead.

Hero… Lib Dem Lynne Featherstone (left) was the biggest LGBT+ advocate in the last Parliament

Is this meagre choice really the best LGBT+ citizens can hope for from the next election? In my view, the answer is no. The real party for LGBT+ people is still plugging away and providing sound basis for a progression in equal rights – and they are the Liberal Democrats. We’re told we’re not allowed to trust my party – we’re simply poisonous in the media realms – not to be entertained on the back of one broken pledge, a mistake no other party has ever made. But just hear me out. In the Coalition government, the Lib Dems succeeded in implementing marriage equality, almost solely on the back of the pluck from former MP Lynne Featherstone. And this is just one example in a long, long history of the Lib Dems catering for LGBT+ needs. The preceding Liberal party was the first to introduce a gay rights section for policy, while the Lib Dems have actively supported drives to make the age of consent equivalent, protect LGBT+ asylum seekers from unjust criminal charges abroad and oppose the ban on teachers being allowed to disclose their sexuality.

Thankfully, the Liberal Democrats haven’t stopped there and the party has pledged even more for LGBT+ citizens in their 2015 manifesto. The Lib Dems want to extend the rights of co-habiting heterosexual couples to homosexual ones, include all relationships in qualification for Civil Partnerships, crack down on homophobic bullying in schools, make homophobic football chanting a criminal offence like racist chanting is, permit humanist weddings, seek to end the disgraceful  and unnecessary bans on blood donation for MSM, pardon those convicted of historical homosexual ‘offences’, and they even match the SNP and Labour’s pledge for an appointed international  gay rights advocate – and in greater detail too.  For gender non-confirming people, the party have pledged to introduce “X” gender markers on passports and eliminate the need for a gender dysphoria diagnosis to acquire legal gender recognition.

Equal rights for LGBT+ citizens is one of, if not my biggest passion in politics and the Liberal Democrats are simply streets ahead in this vicinity and have been for a long long time. I wouldn’t say this if I didn’t mean it and I wouldn’t have joined a party that didn’t put the drive for LGBT+ equality at the heart of their policy making. If you really want a conscious, caring, allied voice for non-heterosexuals in government for the next five years then don’t vote Green, don’t vote Labour, vote Liberal Democrat.

Manifesto Check

Where the parties stand on LGBT+ issues in their 2015 manifestos

LGBT2015

The Gay Marriage Debate

One of modern day’s social taboos is the issue of gay marriage. Particularly in the Western World where homosexuality is on the whole more accepted, the idea of same-sex marriage is becoming more and more prevalent.

And to me, when weighing up the pros and cons, it’s a ‘no brainer’.

The main opposition to same-sex unions seems to derive from fierce conservatives or passionate theists. Conservatives claim that because gay couples cannot reproduce they should not be allowed to marry. Theists, particularly Christians and Muslims draw inspiration from their hate for homosexuality from ancient verses of their gods, who condemn it. Many American Christians believe that homosexuals would damage the sanctity of marriage in the eyes of God, citing it as immoral.

I wholly respect the rights of both conservative and religious groups to hold their own views but is the justification for their prejudice really there?
The extreme right wing’s main argument relies on a homosexual couple’s incapability to reproduce, however would they deny an infertile couple the opportunity to enter in to a legal union?
Religious groups also rely on God’s firm stance of heterosexual marriages only. However, God also allows marriages which constitute of incest, rape and pedophilia.

How the parties see it

Bigoted... UKIP are opposed

Bigoted… UKIP are opposed

UKIP and the BNP are the main adversaries to same-sex marriage in the UK. The Liberal Democrats, Labour and the Green party support the movement whereas the Conservatives are split. The main criticism as the picture shows above is that UKIP believes it’s bad timing. They don’t see a need for a change regardless and especially not now.

Apparently, it’s not a pressing issue in today’s politics. What could be more important than basic HUMAN (not gay) rights?

Dismantling the argument

During my time, researching the area of same-sex marriage debate, several key arguments come up and here’s my direct response to each;

1. “Being gay is not natural.”
Homosexuality is common behaviour in THOUSANDS of different species. Homophobia is only found in one, which is natural?
Also, by this logic. You should not be accessing the internet through a mobile, laptop or any other means because that too is ‘unnatural’.

2. “Adam and Eve not  Adam and Steve”
You mean that story about how a floating man in the sky created the Earth in six days which also  features a cameo by a talking snake?

3. “Heterosexual couples are the traditional definition of marriage.”
…and traditionally, blacks and women did not have equal rights either, should it still be the case?

4. “Straight marriage will lose it’s meaning.”
Yes, the sanctity of Kim Kardashian’s 72 day marriage will be destroyed.

5. “Marriage is the place for children.”
Because elderly and infertile couples are denied the right to marry too, aren’t they?

6. “Gay parents will raise gay children.”
The same way, straight parents always raise straight children.

7. “It goes against God.”
So is wearing more than one type of fabric. I respect your right to be a theist, but who are you to impose the wills of your leader on non-believers? Marriage is granted by the state, an organisation in which religion should have MINIMAL say.

8. “If gay people can get married soon paedophiles and bestialitists will have the same rights too

A gross miscalculation of change. A same-sex marriage is entered in to by two consenting adults. A child nor an animal can legally or physically consent to marrying a human being. Homosexuality is victimless.

9. “It will lead to gay adoption and children NEED both male and female parents to succeed.”
Because single parents always do such an awful job by themselves?  I find it difficult to ascertain why somebody’s genitals affects their skills as a parent and/or role model.

The main argument against gay marriage is as always God and the bible, a book written thousands of years ago when people believed the world was flat. A book that only SOME christians actually believe. Marriage is a legal right not  a religious one. Why would you deny two people happiness when you’re indirectly affected? Would you tell someone they can’t eat a doughnut just because you’re on a diet?

In hindsight, this is less of a debate than fucking obvious. The fact this is still only discussion even seems ludicrous in 2012. But for now, all I can advise the opposition is if you’re against gay marriage, don’t marry a gay person.