Thursday, May 11, 2006

I have posted before about how the UK seems to have come a long way (under Labour) in challenging discrimination for gay men and women and delivering some really positive changes e.g. civil partnerships, repeal section 28, an equal age of consent, housing succession rights, hate crime legislation, same sex immigration etc.

This makes Ruth Kelly's voting record all the more abhorrent. Kelly is a member of the Opus Dei movement and has abstained in 12 votes on homosexual equal rights since 1997. She failed to support an equal age of consent after 1997 and missed votes on gay adoption and civil partnerships as well as the vote that overturned section 28. Ironic, as she is the new minister for equality!

Interviewed on 5 Live she refused (twice) to say whether she supported Opus Dei views that practising homosexuality is a "sin". She said "It is possible to be a Catholic and hold a portfolio in government. I am responsible for holding to the collective cabinet view on these matters but I firmly believe in equality and that everyone should be free of discrimination and I will fight to the end to make sure that's the case."

Fair enough – I think an MP can still have religious beliefs and I would rather know about their beliefs so that I can make a judgement about whether I want to vote for them or not. The point that she seems to be missing is that, in spite of Labour's record for gay (or human) rights, her comments ands stance continue to support the 'establishment' that oppressed gay people for so many hundreds of years. She should have the balls to stand up for gay rights by joining the government votes. It seems perfectly possible to be an MP without agreeing with every policy, so why can't she be a member of Opus Dei without supporting all of their views?
Get it together Kelly! More on this, here and here.