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Charles Kennedy Launches Manifesto For The LGBT Community

March 31, 2005 12:07 PM

The Rt Hon Charles Kennedy MP last night launched the Liberal Democrat mini-manifesto for the LGBT community, at the Proud Art Gallery in Central London.

This is one of 19 mini-manifestos for communities of interest that have been launched prior to the expected general election on 5 May.

Speaking at the launch Charles Kennedy said "The Liberal Democrats have an impressive track record of supporting LGBT rights in both houses of parliament and this manifesto demonstrates our continuation of this support".

The manifesto contains eight key pledge:

• Strengthen the fight against discrimination with a single Equality Act. This will outlaw all unfair discrimination and harassment, including on the grounds of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, disability, age or gender identity. This will be the biggest step taken to protect the LGBT community.

• Press public bodies to tackle inequality and discrimination against the LGBT community

• Outlaw incitement of hatred against people on the basis of their sexuality and make incitement to homophobic hatred a specific offence

• Equal treatment for same sex and heterosexual couples in pension arrangements

• End the exemption in the UK's implementation of the European Directive that allows religious organisations to sack, demote or fail to hire employees in non proselytising posts on grounds of sexual orientation

• Improve education on HIV and refocus the spending and priorities of the health service on health education and screening

• Repeal provisions in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act which discriminates against gay couples

• Introduce rates relief for small businesses boosting the pink economy which is based typically on the small business sector

Commenting on the launch, chair of DELGA, Richard Porter said "This manifesto reinforces our commitment to the LGBT community and outlines our proposals for finally eliminating all forms of discrimination that continue to exist in society. Recent polling shows the Liberal Democrats are the party of choice amongst the LGBT community. With widespread disillusionment with Labour and dis-trust of the Tories, the Liberal Democrats are set to make great progress at the general election".