26 May 2009
Green Party MEP Candidate Chris Williams was out and about with colleagues at the Birmingham gay pride event this weekend talking to voters after the Green Party launched its manifesto specifically for the LGBT community.
Over 2000 leaflets were snapped up over two days. Chris was keen that people were aware of, on one hand the homophobic threat of the BNP and on the other hand, progressive Green Party politicians who care passionately about justice and equality.
"We are proud of the record of our Green MEPs on LGBT issues, proud to have so many LGBT candidates standing and because we think that the opinions of the LGBT communities are incredibly important in this election we are also proud to launch our own specific LGBT election manifesto.
It is vital that lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people have MEPs representing our rights in Europe. Jean Lambert, our London MEP, and Caroline Lucas our South Eastern MEP have worked hard in Europe for LGBT rights to be understood as human rights.
The European Elections are important, because so much of UK human rights policy tends to follow European directives on issues like the age of consent and anti-discrimination laws in employment.
It is also important that the more progressive nature of Western European attitudes to LGBT people spreads into Eastern Europe. Gay Prides in Europe have been prevented or attacked in the past but this is slowly beginning to change.
The far right is challenging the progress that has been made and we need strong voices to protect LGBT members across the whole of the EU.
The EU is in a strong position to give us a strong voice to oppose homophobic persecution and judicial murder across the world.
Green Party actions are not just paper policies. Darren Johnson led the way for civil partnerships by being instrumental in introducing the London register which predated the Civil Partnership Bill and showed that there was a demand and that it could be done.
Jean Lambert Green MEP for the London region is a member of the European Parliament's Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights and works to ensure that LGBT people are treated fairly across Europe. She has spoken out against the deportation of gay and lesbian asylum seekers, to their almost certain death, which shamed the Labour government into allowing them to stay in the UK. She continues to oppose homophobic oppression in Europe and throughout the world."
The LGBT Greens European Election Manifesto
1. The Greens will continue to campaign for:
--full LGBT equality, including full partnership, insurance, pensions, employment, and housing rights. This includes campaigning to rid ALL EU member states of homophobic and transphobic discrimination in access to goods and services, such as insurance and mortgages.
--all EU member states to comply with the EU directive outlawing discrimination against lesbians gay men and bisexuals in the workplace.
--equivalent and specific protection in society and in the workplace for trans citizens.
2. Greens will press for policing which reflects the diversity of the LGBT communities in the EU particularly in the new Eastern states, ensuring that homophobic behaviour by police officers is considered an explicit offence which can be remedied with disciplinary action. Also working with the police in deepening their relationship with the LGBT community, including LGBT organisations: improving the rapport between police forces and the LGBT community; addressing the continued under-reporting of hate crimes, and working with authorities to bring hate crime culprits to justice.
3. Greens will work to legalise same-sex marriages and registered partnerships across the EU, particularly in asylum legislation.
4. Greens will campaign to
--extend the EU definition of "family" to include LGBT partnerships
--campaign for lgbt equal access to parenting and fertility treatment.
5. Greens will continue to lobby Police on non-prosecution of consenting, victimless gay offences, such as cruising. Police resources should be concentrated on violent, corporate and hate crimes and active, sustainable measures to create safer communities.
6. Greens will support a pan European HIV Action Plan:
--to improve safer sex education.
Greens will also campaign to
--cut transmission rates by remedying the financial hole in HIV services and large inadequacies in the provision and scope of HIV services
--upgrade the standard of treatment and after-care for people who have transmitted HIV. This will include pressing the UK government to resolve the under-funding and under-staffing of sexually-transmitted infection (STI) clinics.
7. Greens through their MEPs will lobby the European Commission to-
require all companies doing business with the European Union, or governments and local authorities within it, to be required to have equal opportunities policies that prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and HIV-positive people; thereby enabling local authorities to take a proactive role in encouraging businesses to end homo, bi and transphobic discrimination.
8. Greens propose to celebrate queer culture and history.