No self-respecting gay man could even consider
voting Tory under William Hague's leadership. In the past four years the man has jumped on every
bandwagon that has passed, and cares not for the unemployed, the poor, immigrants, one parent
families and certainly not for gay people. In spite of Michael Portillo’s call
for all-embracing conservatism, we shouldn't expect to be included in a Tory group hug.
It was the Conservative Party that opposed the lowering of the gay age of
consent (some even argued for it to be raised), and many also repeatedly rejected the
Government’s call for the repeal of Section 28 - and have vowed to continue to do so.
The Conservative Party's manifestos for local government and for the general election both proclaim
the party's commitment to keeping section 28. In the general election manifesto, the commitment
to retaining section 28 falls under the section entitled "a proud democracy".
But it is in their local government manifesto that they set out their case under their commitment
to support marriage and the family. "Section 28 prevents councils intentionally promoting
homosexuality as equivalent to marriage in schools, youth groups, and children's homes ... we believe
the protection of section 28 should remain".
Happy to pander to the prejudices of any of his supporters, leader William Hague has
voiced fierce opposition to same-sex relationship rights. His party manifesto is titled "a
proud democracy" and yet it panders to many on the right-wing of his party.
The Labour Campaign for Lesbian and Gay Rights has condemned the Conservative manifesto as a
"vicious attack on lesbians and gay men". The group warned against complacency and protest votes
allowing the Conservatives back into government.
LCLGR spokesperson Peter Purton said: "Making Section 28 one of the centrepieces of their manifesto
shows that the Tories are more extreme than ever before. They have no hesitation in appealing to
homophobia and the most bigoted elements of society."
He said that a return to a Conservative government would be a disaster for lesbians, gay men and
bisexuals, adding: "How many new Section 28s would they dream up if they were back in government?
It would be a return to the days when we spent all our time fighting off attacks from government
rather than pushing a government to achieve equality."
Purton also warned against complacency. He said: "Of course Labour has not yet done everything
we want them to do. But people should be under no illusions that a return to Conservative government
is a definite possibility. Protest votes for smaller parties or not voting could easily let Tory
candidates in and a Conservative government by accident."
You can find out more about the Conservative manifesto on their website:
OutUK's coverage of election 2001 will continue to update you on aspects of the campaign
that affect gay men. Stonewall are also encouraging us all to vote tactically and you can
find out more about their excellent website using the link below.
We also have more on the other main party manifestos, and the issues contained in them.
OutUK Election 2001
Stonewall's Political Campaign