I’ll jump straight in and start by stating the bleeding obvious, that I don’t think gay people should be voting purely on political parties’ record on gay rights.
I believe there is a much bigger picture that needs to be looked at. Sexuality should not define us as individuals and although we have some way to go until things are really equal for us, I feel that there are more pressing issues that should be given consideration at this time.
With just just under two weeks to go until the General Election, it’s looking like it will be a close battle between Labour and the Conservative Party, with losses likely for the Liberal Democrats and some gains for UKIP. The campaigning is ramping up a gear with each rise of the sun and the various political parties have been releasing their manifestos.
As part of the manifestos, most of the political parties have mentioned LGBT rights and the Labour Party have a specific LGBT manifesto. It’s great that the parties are being mindful of LGBT rights and it shows what great progress has been made in recent times. However, it could also be seen as an attempt to win the ‘pink vote’ and I’m cautious of voting for a political party just because they have pledged to do the most for gay people.
The last Labour government did a lot for gay people; lowering the age of consent, repealing the ban on gay people serving in the armed forces, repealing Section 28, introducing civil partnerships, and a whole host of other equality legislation. The current Conservative-Lib Dem Coalition has introduced marriage equality for gay people and set up a £2 million fund to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools.
The Green Party have always been supportive of full equality for gay people. Then there’s UKIP, who despite having some truly awful characters in their ranks and being the only main political party not to address LGBT rights in their manifesto, have an LGBT network.
In fact, at this year’s Warwickshire Pride festival, which I organise, so far UKIP are the only political party to book a stall there.
Now I’m by no means a UKIP supporter, but the point I am making is that all of the political parties have aspects that could appeal to a gay voter. But as mentioned previously, there is so much more to take into consideration.
If you cut me open, my blood is red (take from that what you will). I know exactly who I’ll be voting for on May 7th. The issues that matter to me are the economy, protecting the NHS, and supporting the most vulnerable in our society. The state of the country and our society as a whole is more important to me than my individual rights. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one (fans of Star Trek will recognise that quote).
It would be wrong of me to tell you who you should be voting for. Ultimately you will know what your values are and where you stand on certain issues. What I will plead though, is that you at least exercise your right to vote. You never know; it could be your vote that counts the most.
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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.