I was honoured to be invited to talk this morning on Gaydio, Manchester’s first radio station for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Gaydio became the UK’s first full time LGBT FM radio service in June of this year.
It was a delight to talk about my involvement over the past few years in the Liberal Democrats and I was joined by the Secretary of DELGA Hollie Matthies who talked with passion and authority about a policy being put forward on Tuesday at the Lib Dem Conference in Liverpool entitled ‘Marriage without Borders’.
DELGA are the Lib Dem LGBT body and they have been at the forefront of LGBT equality for decades and have the best record in Parliament of any political party on LGBT equality issues. Prior to the last three general elections DELGA issued seperate LGBT manifestos and on each occasion these were all accepted into the full party’s election manifestos.
As such, DELGA are encouraged to put forward motions at our party conferences, and new St. Austell & Newquay MP Steve Gilbert will be introducing the Marriage without Borders motion, which argues that no matter what gender or sexuality someone is, marriage and civil partnerships should be available to all.
This motion comes during the week that I am celebrating the 10th anniversary of my marriage to the gorgeous and intelligent Kat Middleton, so it seems so wrong and unfair that while I can enjoy the benefits of marriage, other couples cannot simply because they identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transexual/transgender.
Equally, there are many mixed gender couples who do not wish to marry in a church, but would like the commitment of a civil partnership – the fact they cannot enter into civil partnerships is also wrong. Fortunately, as Liberal Democrats, fairness is at the heart of everything we do and I am 100% convinced DELGA’s motion will be approved and we can put this to government.
It’s worth pointing out that the motion is called Marriage without Borders because those who get married (no matter what their beliefs, gender or sexual orientation) should have their marriage recognised throughout the world. It’s a sad fact that many countries do not recognise UK civil partnerships and this can affect the right to work in, live in or even visit foreign countries.
The hour seemed to wizz by, but I am grateful to Gaydio and the host of the morning show, Andrew Edwards, for allowing me the opportunity to respond to the TUC’s disappointing comments about government cuts that may target LBGT groups. I’m unsure why the TUC seems to think the coalition might target LBGT groups, as I am convinced this is simply not the case. Savings need to be made across the whole of government spending and until the details of the comprehensive spending review are revealed, we do not know what they will be. Scaremongering and idle speculation is unhelpful, but then I expect nothing less from an organisation aligned with Labour, the party that left the coalition with a huge mess to clear up.