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Simon welcomes Pink News

June 29, 2006 6:58 PM

Simon Hughes MP yesterday welcomed a new addition to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender press at the launch of Pink News magazine in London yesterday.

Speaking at the Pink News Magazine Launch at the Law Society on 28th June 2006, alongside other speakers including the Rt. Hon. Francis Maude MP and Meg Hillier MP, Simon Hughes said: 'I welcome another serious publication for and about gay and lesbian people and issues that matter to them.

"Since the European Convention on Human Rights was written, the UK has come a long way in giving equal rights to gay people and lesbians. It is a real cause for celebration that civil partnerships are now nationally available and that the Equality Act is at last in place. There is huge cause for celebration across the country in general and in London in particular."

"But there is absolutely no time for complacency. The recent terrible deaths of David Morley and Jody Dobrowski, both near the middle of London, show - as do others - how much prejudice we still have to counter before attitudes change. At last our courts can give exemplary sentences for crimes aggravated by prejudice, as a warning and hopefully as a deterrent. But the cultural change needs to go much further and much deeper. Without a doubt it must begin at school. Civilised education and effective responses to all threats or reality of homophobic bullying should be part of the absolute guarantees in education from the beginning of the new century."

"Until our country move from a sensationalist press to a responsible press and from callous media to careful (not solemn, but careful) media we also still have work to do."

"But from the cosmopolitan community which is London and Britain we also have international responsibilities to carry out. Between 2006 and the arrival of the Olympics in 2012, we have to get across the international message that whatever people's faith or cultural views, adult gay and lesbian people have equal rights to make their own choices as to how to live their lives. Nationally and internationally, we need civilised asylum and immigration policies and strong foreign policy which campaigns for individuals and human rights wherever they are under threat. In too many countries of the world, gay people have not just a hard time but a dangerous time and potentially a life threatening time. International solidarity between people and communities in many ways should be easier in a globally inter-connected world. To David Cameron and others I say clearly. Rights of gay and lesbian people to live their lives free of discrimination and free of fear are not especially British rights but European and international rights. Respecting each other for what they are does not signal a decadent society but a civilised, respectful and pluralist one.'

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