The LGBT Vote - helping to decide

With the elections just around the corner, every day we hear more from various parties about the 'big picture'. However with at least a few weeks to go before the parties publish their manifestos, how do you know which party has the best interests in your LGBT life? To be honest, even when the manifestos are published, it is unlikely to contain specific references to LGBT issues.

History shows us that we cannot be complacent. Whilst we have made great inroads to date, there is no guarantee and with a new party in power, some changes could be reversed. Just as we have seen in some US States where marriage has been allowed, and then reversed, there are no guarantees.

I heard a great statement the other week, which is important to share as a reason for voting, and to counter the common argument against voting, that there is no point as all politicians are the same.

"Not all politicians are the same, some are worse than others."

A History of LGBT Support

The table below will hopefully provide a little help and guidance on what parties have supported in the past. It only compared Conservatives, Lib Dems and Labour however. Independent data was added from the # source page. There were no sitting MPs for the Green Party o UKIP at time of votes, except for the Same Sex Marriage Bill which Green Party MP Caroline Lucas voted in favour for.

  Conservatives Labour Liberal Democrats  

Equal marriage #

Allow for same sex couples to get married; Marriage (Same Sex Couples) bill

48%
48%
91%
91%
92%
92%
 

Equalise age of consent #

Bringing age of consent for gays down to 16 in line with straight couples.

14%
14%
95%
95%
91%
91%
 

Repeal of Section 28 #

Abolishing the ban on local councils being able to distribute any material relating to homosexuality.

24%
24%
99%
99%
100%
100%
 

Equal adoption rights #

Allowing gay couples to adopt.

6%
6%
94%
94%
100%
100%
 

Civil partnerships #

Giving gay couples the same legal protections and privileges straight couples enjoy.

65%
65%
99%
99%
100%
100%
 

Equality act #

Preventing people from being discriminated against because they’re gay.

26%
26%
96%
96%
88%
88%
 
Averages 31% 96% 95%  

Source: http://mygayvote.co.uk/

Looking Forward

Of course, politics is constantly changing, and history is no guarantee going forward. So where do the parties currently stand?

LGBT Labour http://www.lgbtlabour.org.uk/

Between 1997 and 2010 the Labour government did more for the advancement of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans equality than any other government in British History. All major developments in LGBT Rights have taken place under Labour Governments. In the 1974-79 Government, it was Labour MP Leo Abse who led the fight to decriminalize sex between two adult men. His sad passing was remembered by LGBT Labour and the Labour Movement as a whole.

In government Labour:

  • achieved an equal age of consent;
  • ended the ban on LGBT people serving in our armed forces;
  • ended discrimination against Lesbian & Gay partners for immigration purposes;
  • given LGBT individuals and couples the right to adopt children;
  • scrapped the homophobic Section 28 (Clause 2a in Scotland);
  • become a signatory of the Treaty of Amsterdam, which gave the EU powers to end discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation;
  • banned discrimination in the workplace and in vocational training with the introduction of the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations;
  • created the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) which gives LGBT people statutory body protection;
  • included homophobia in the definition of hate crimes;
  • increased sentencing for homophobic hate crimes;
  • removed outdated offences such as gross indecency and buggery;
  • produced and implemented the Gender Recognition Act, allowing Trans people to have their true gender recognised in law;
  • created the Civil Partnerships, allowing LGB people to have their loving relationships recognised by law and have the same benefits as married couples;
  • outlawed discrimination in good and services (with no exceptions);
  • launched a campaign in the UN for the Decriminalisation of Homosexuality focusing on the nine countries where it is still punishable by death;
  • awarded statutory rights for fertility treatment for Lesbians on the NHS.
  • introduced the Equality Act

LGBT Liberal Democrats http://lgbt.libdems.org.uk/en/

The Liberal Democrats have kept equality at the heart of the policy making process. The following list represents not the policy of LGBT+ Liberal Democrats, but the democratically decided policy of the entire party.

LGBT Torys http://www.lgbtory.co.uk/

There is no specific information on their website about current campaigns.

LGBTQI Green Party http://lgbtiq-greens.greenparty.org.uk/

There is no specific information on their website about current campaigns.

LGBT UKIP

Set up in September 2012, there is no website; only Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Women in politics

For those of you equally interested in women's visibility and participation. We have some information about female participation in the political parties. There are currently 148 female MPs, out of a total 650 members of parliament. These MPs gained their seats at the 2010 general election and at by-elections held since then. The chart below shows parties which have female MPs and compares the number of female and male MPs in each party, with men shown in grey and with their number in parenthesis.

A table showing the number of women MPs and candidates at every general election since 1945 is available.

Chart comparing number of female and male MPs by party.
Labour 86 Female (169 Male)
Conservative 48 Female (256 Male)
Lib Dem 7 Female (50 Male)
Green 1 Female (0 Male)
SDLP 1 Female (2 Male)
Sinn Fein 1 Female (4 Male)
SNP 1 Female (5 Male)
Alliance 1 Female (0 Male)
Independent 1 Female (1 Male)

Source: House of Commons Information Office