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Stonewall: Conservatives must not derail LGBT equality for deal with DUP

Stonewall has called on the Conservatives to ensure LGBT rights are not impacted by any deal with Northern Ireland’s anti-LGBT DUP.

The Conservative Party failed to get an overall majority in yesterday’s General Election, and must now try to secure an agreement with another party in order to govern.

The Tories are currently in discussions with Northern Ireland’s ultra-conservative Democratic Unionist Party, which is strongly opposed to LGBT rights.

The DUP has stalled all progress on equal marriage in Northern Ireland, and previously supported the introduction of a ‘conscience clause’ to protect people who discriminate against LGBT people.

Stonewall has urged the Tories to keep their promise to LGBT people and not permit progress to equality to be harmed under the DUP.

Stonewall CEO Ruth Hunt said: “We share the concerns of countless LGBT people, and our friends, of all political persuasions who are deeply anxious about the potential Democratic Unionist Party involvement in the new government.

“The DUP have a poor record on LGBT rights. Although the party leader claims they are not anti-LGBT, the DUP have vetoed same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland five times, despite a majority of public and representatives being in favour.

“A party than constantly misuses its veto in this way is not a party that shares Stonewall’s values or the values of most people across the UK.

“The Conservatives have shown during the past two governments that they are committed to improving LGBT equality. And at the LGBT hustings that Stonewall, PinkNews and Pride in London hosted on May 30, Justine Greening MP, said the Tories would not ‘backslide’ on that commitment.”

Ms Hunt added: “It’s important to remember that our values are defined as much by who we stand with as what we stand for.

“The Conservative Party, and the Prime Minister, have been on an incredible journey in the past 20 years recognising the importance of achieving equality for LGBT people in the UK and around the world. They now count LGBT people as some of their fiercest supporters.

“If such a partnership is pursued, The Conservatives – at the very least – have an opportunity and an obligation to demonstrate to their partners in the DUP why they too need to think again about LGBT people, our rights and our needs, and start actively working to achieve equality for LGBT people in Northern Ireland.

“It’s vital that the Conservative Party stand firm on LGBT equality, and the Prime Minister makes that clear from the outset.

“We’ve made excellent progress over the past 50 years, but many LGBT people still face discrimination and abuse every day.

“This government must actively continue to work for a world where everyone is accepted for who they are.”

Stonewall added: “LGBT rights need to be protected and extended under this government, not threatened. That’s the sort of government that the UK voted for on 8 June.

“LGBT people exist in every community and we must not forget that, or let others suggest that they don’t.

“We’ll be working with the government, and all elected parties and MPs, to ensure that together we can make the changes we’ve called for in our manifesto a reality. We will continue to call for acceptance – without exception.”

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