Earlier this month Tory Home Secretary , Theresa May , proclaimed the following
“If we want to reform Human Rights in this country it isn’t the EU we ought to leave but the European Court of Human Rights and the jurisdiction of its court.
Now May is right about one thing. The European Court of Human Rights is not part of the EU but of the Council of Europe to which just about every European nation subscribes—and acceptance of the jurisdiction of the Euro Court -and that membership is not conditional on membership of the EU, It has existed since the end of the Second World War –and was in at least part the creation of the British Conservative Government under Winston Churchill, In 1998 it was passed into UK Law by Blairs Labour Government by the Human Rights Act. This enshrines in Uk law the rights of UK citizens who have been deprived of their human rights under UK Law to seek redress in Europe. Withdrawl from the Euro Court would mean that the British Home Secretary would be the final arbiter of human rights in the UK with no right of appeal The replacement of the Human Rights Act by a UK Rights Act could severely restrict them

So who has the best track record in the UK of protecting and promoting LGBT human rights in the UK—-Theresa May [and previous British Home Secretaries or the Euro Court?

Theresa May’s Record

1. In 2000 she failed to turn up too support the Labour Governments repeal of the notoriously homophobic Section 28 introduced by the Thatcher government [To be fair to Theresa David Cameron DID turn up and voted against repeal]
2. She voted against equalising the Homosexual Age of Consent with the Heterosexual one at 16.
3.She voted against the right of gay coupes to adopt children
4 She voted against the 2007 Gender Recognition Regulations
5 She voted against the @007 Sexual Orientation Regulations which later—as Camerons first Home Secretary and Equalities Minister
6 She failed to turn up to vote on the Gender Recognition Act

Again ,to be fair to her, she was part of the minority of Tory MPs who voted in favour of Equal Marriage and she is reported to have ‘repented’ of her opposition to same sex couples adoption

However such was the opposition to theresa Mays opposition to LGBT rights that there was an on-line petition calling on David Cameron to relieve her of her Equalities duties—-and indeed eventually it was to be handed over to the likes of Nikki Morgan who had voted against Equal Marriagw.

The 2010 Petition Calling for May to be sacked as Equalities Minister
The 2010 Petition Calling for May to be sacked as Equalities Minister

The Record of the European Court of Human Rights on LGBT Rights
[Note the Euro Court cannot make a judgement unless a complainant takes a case having exhausted all the remedies of the UK legal systemm]

Here are some of the high profile cases where the Euro Court has been instrumental in defending LGBT Rights in the UK

1 In 1981 ,in the case of Dudgeon v. the UK. the court ruled that northern Irish law which still criminalised consenting homosexual relations between adults was in contravention of privacy rights and the UK government subsequently ensured that the law was repealed.Will the ban on same sex marriage in Northern Ireland be overturned in the same way?

Geoff Dudgeon who took his case to the Euro Court and scured decriminalisation in Northern Ireland Geoff Dudgeon who took his case to the Euro Court and scured decriminalisation in Northern Ireland[/caption

2.In 1999 Lustig-Prean and Bakcett v UK and Smith and Grady v. UK won their case of gay personnel in the armed forces being banned -and dismissed-from the armed forces. In the following year the Labour Government overturned the ban. There is strong evidence that Blairs government,although it favoured repeal, was vary wary of adverse public opinion. It was quite convenient to be able to 'blame' it on the Euro Court!20militarysandison

3. Equalisation of the Age of Homosexual Consent

Age of consent in the Uk was equalised following the ruling of the Euro Court in the case of Sutherland v. UK brought in 1999. Again the Labour government implemented itimages
4.In 1996 the Euro Court ruled that firing a person because they began life 'living in another gender' is discriminatory. As a result the Sex Discrimination {Gender Reassignment] regulations were adopted
5 In 2003 protection from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation was made UK law when the Labour Government acted on a 2000 EU directive
6, Marriage Rights For Trans people. In 2002 the ban on a transgender person marrying a person of the sex opposite to their reassigned sex was declared illegal
7 In 2007 the Euro Court made it possible for trans women to claim pension rights as other women

So Who do you trust to protect our rights?

A British Home Secretary who might be hostile or running scared of public opinion [as expressed by the Daily Mail?

A Brtish Bill of Rights and/or withdrawal from the Euro Court of Human Rights

or keeping things as they are

Which has been the best protector of LGBt Rights?

Bit of a no brainer really

We must defend our membership of the European Court of Human Rights and of the Human Rights Act

Colin livett May 2016
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2 thoughts on “Theresa Takes A Liberty [or two] with our LGBT Human Rights

  1. It was either the EU or the previous Labour government that made so much progress on LGBT rights in the UK. Where do gay UKIPpers stand? With labour or the EU?

    Reply

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