Gordon Brown’s hypocrisy on gay rights
PM backs homophobic discrimination, while claiming to support equality
Tatchell barred from Downing Street gay leaders reception
London - 30 June 2009
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has sent a message of support to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, ahead of this Saturday’s (4 July) annual Pride London parade.
His message includes the claim that: “We (the Labour government) won’t ever give up on the fight for equality – we are marching with you every step of the way.”
“He claims to support gay equality but his government actually endorses some aspects of homophobic discrimination,” said Peter Tatchell of the LGBT human rights group, OutRage!
“It supports the ban on same-sex marriage. Civil partnerships are not equality. They are a form of sexual apartheid, with different laws for gay and straight couples.
“Gay and bisexual men are prohibited from donating blood, even if they always practice safe sex and have tested HIV-negative.
“Successive Labour Home Secretaries have given visas and work permits to reggae singers who incite the murder of gay people. Such incitement is a serious criminal offence.
“The government’s current Equality Bill is supposed to ensure equal rights for everyone but it specifically denies lesbians and gays protection against harassment.
“Labour’s many commendable gay law reforms are no excuse for its stonewalling on the abolition of these remaining aspects of homophobic discrimination.
“Gordon Brown has declined invitations to march on Saturday’s gay pride parade, citing ‘security considerations.’ This is just an excuse. He’s not marching because he knows he would be booed and jeered, like he was at the D-Day commemorations.
“Instead, the Prime Minister will host a reception at Downing Street for LGBT rights campaigners and the pink press on the morning of Pride London. Those invited are mostly - not entirely - tame apologists for New Labour. Critics of the government’s record, like myself, are not invited.
“The same selective invitation criteria was applied when Gordon Brown hosted a Downing Street reception for LGBT campaigners in March. An insider tipped me off that my name had been removed from the invite list, at Gordon Brown’s personal request. He was apparently still angry that I had heckled him over his government’s erosion of civil liberties, when he opened the Taking Liberties exhibition at the British Library late last year.
“I have been campaigning for LGBT human rights for 40 years, since shortly after the 1969 Stonewall Riots. I was one of the group of people who helped organise Britain’s first gay pride parade in 1972.
“I don’t do my human rights work to win awards, honours or invites. It doesn’t matter to me that I haven’t been invited. What angers me is the principle - the way the Prime Minister invites and fetes mostly tame pro-Labour loyalists in the LGBT community. It is a manipulative tactic by an insecure government that knows its record on LGBT human rights is not as glorious as it claims.
“Instead of remedying the remaining issues of homophobic discrimination, Gordon Brown seems more interested in isolating and excluding LGBT voices who continue to insist on full LGBT human rights,” said Mr Tatchell.
The Prime Minister’s full message to the LGBT community reads:
“I’m very proud of all that this government has achieved on LGBT rights these last 12 years; from equalising the age of consent, lifting the ban on military service, introducing gay adoption and creating civil partnerships to scrapping section 28, introducing the Gender Recognition Act and banning discrimination at work and in the provision of goods and services," the Prime Minister wrote.
“We won’t ever give up on the fight for equality – we are marching with you every step of the way. The Labour government has one simple guiding ideal when it comes to LGBT rights: you can’t legislate love.”
Sarah Brown to march at Pride London
The wife of the Prime Minister is to show her solidarity with the LGBT community this Saturday when she will march in the Pride London parade.
On Saturday morning Gordon and Sarah Brown will host a small reception at 10 Downing St for Pride organisers, gay rights campaigners and representatives of the pink press.
A Downing St spokesman told PinkNews.co.uk:
"Because of security considerations, the Prime Minister will not be able to march himself, but Sarah wanted to show her continued solidarity for the gay community by taking part.
"The Prime Minister will be showing his support at the reception on the morning of Pride."
It is thought to be the first time a Prime Minister's spouse has taken part in Pride but it is not the first time Gordon and Sarah Brown have demonstrated their support for gay equality.
On the morning of Pride London 2008 the Prime Minister met members of Stonewall and pledged his backing for their campaign against homophobic bullying.
Earlier this year Mr Brown spoke at a Downing St reception marking LGBT History Month. Mrs Brown also attended.
In October a leading American LGBT rights advocate was the guest of honour at a private lunch at Downing St.
Mrs Brown hosted the event for David Mixner, a veteran American civil rights campaigner, author and political strategist.
It was the first time a gay activist had been honoured in this way at No 10.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take part in Pride London this Saturday, the country's biggest LGBT event.
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