Parties must commit to full implementation, as soon as possible, of the measures in the Equality Act which benefit lesbian and gay voters, including the public equality duty. All too often lesbian, gay and bisexual people receive second-class treatment from public services.
The proposed public sector equality duty is the missing piece in the jigsaw of full legal protection for gay people across Britain, complementing existing protections in employment and goods and services with a more proactive approach to tackling discrimination. Stonewall firmly believes that lesbian, gay and bisexual taxpayers should be able to approach the public services they help to fund with complete confidence. We welcome an integrated equality duty that will help to make this a reality.
The new duty - replacing the current separate duties for race, disability and gender - could make a very real difference by encouraging public bodies actively to accommodate the needs of their gay service-users in the design and delivery of public services such as schools, policing and housing. It could have a transformative effect both on gay people's lives in areas where they have often faced discrimination and on the cost-effectiveness of the delivery of public services.
Stonewall research has demonstrated the shocking extent of homophobic hate crime across Britain. Homophobic hate incidents are on the increase.
Police forces and criminal justice agencies should be expected and supported to deal robustly with hate crime based on sexual orientation.
Homophobic bullying is almost endemic in Britain's schools, reflected in Stonewall research. There will be zero tolerance of hate crime and of children being bullied because they're thought to be gay.
Every local authority and school - including faith schools - will be expected to tackle homophobic bullying. It currently blights the life chances of too many young people.
We want a House of Commons that represents the whole of modern Britain. Our political parties must take steps to bring this about.
We call on the next Government to implement the recommendations of the Speaker's Conference to make sure that the House of Commons represents women and men, and people of all backgrounds, abilities and sexual orientations.
Stonewall has helped to secure remarkable progress in legal protection for gay people in recent years. We look to the next Government continue to advance equality in Britain and to promote fairness throughout the world.
British embassies and High Commissions will actively support equality and human rights by continuing to champion equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
None of the parties seem to aknowledge the single, child-free, mature voter who's contribution through tax is unrecognised in any of the manifesto. Also I have normally voted for the party which I feel is best for the country and so have never automatically supported one particular party. The television debates have made it more focussed on the leaders. In that case I cannot vote Conservative as David Cameron voted for Clause 28. Please never let us forget the damage it did to young people.
Greymatters, 06 May 2010