Whilst the Labour Party is sadly lacking when it comes to committing itself to complete and
unequivocal gay equality, parties on the political fringes aren't afraid to fully support gay rights.
The bravest of the smaller parties is the Green Party. The Greens are the only political party offering to
"extend the right to civil marriage to same-sex couples". And not only are the Greens pledging to
scrap Section 28, the party's manifesto goes as far to promise to impose a legal duty on teachers
to discuss homosexuality in schools. The Green manifesto also states a commitment to strengthening
existing discrimination legislation on various grounds, including sexuality.
"The SNP is a democratic left-of-centre political party committed to Scottish independence. It aims
to create a just, caring and enterprising society in the mainstream of modern Europe by releasing
Scotland's full potential as an independent nation."
So begins their manifesto, and it's probably one of the most disappointing of all of the political parties. It has no
reference to gay rights or any issue on the gay agenda. The SNP claims it's in the mainstream,
and claims it's on the left-of-centre but shame on them for a substantial omission, and a lost opportunity.
In stark contrast, whilst not going quite as far as the altar, Plaid Cymru`s manifesto supports "the right for
unmarried partners to register their partnership and have property, pension and inheritance rights."
Although not mentioning gay couples specifically, the Welsh party's manifesto also demands "a
comprehensive review of all equality legislation to ensure consistency, changes of sex discrimination
law to make positive action easier, and the early extension of equality legislation to meet the
requirements of the Amsterdam Treaty." The Amsterdam Treaty calls for the elimination of discrimination
on the basis of sexual orientation.
Plaid Cymru also backs the Human Rights Act and asks for the European Union's Charter of Fundamental
Rights to be incorporated into the European Treaty. The EU charter contains provisos granting all
individuals the right to be protected from discrimination of any kind.
The Socialist Alliance Party manifesto promises to repeal Section 28 "without delay" and argues for
equal rights for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in all legal matters; including partnership and
parenting rights, protection from discrimination at work or in the community and, bizarrely, the
age of consent. Unbeknown to them, the age of consent became 16 for all earlier this year. The
Socialist Alliance also promises to act to stamp out homophobic violence.
You can find out more about the party manifestos on their websites:
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