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'Ladele' council trumpets new gay charter

January 16, 2009 1:20 PM

The London Lib Dem Council which fought against a ruling that a Christian registrar could refuse to conduct Civil Partnerships between same-sex couples, has now promised to redouble its commitment to keep discrimination out of its offices, playgrounds, and public services with a new charter of Sexual Orientation Equalities. Islington Council, in North London, was rated by Stonewall as the second best council in London for gay-friendly employment - and is now one of the first councils in the country to publish a Charter for lesbian, gay and bisexual people in their borough.

The charter states that the council always requires their employees to act in a non-discriminatory manner when discharging their duties. The charter also promises action to help gay people in the community who are still at more risk of harassment or homophobia. The council commits to tackling homophobic bullying in schools and making sure that the borough's care homes for elderly people are friendly to older gay people and recognise same-sex relationships. The charter also commits to working with the Chinese, black and Irish communities, where gay people from within that community remain more at risk of homophobia.

Councillor Ruth Polling, Islington's Liberal Democrat equalities chief, commented: "It's important to us that Islington Council stays at the forefront of ensuring equal treatment for gay people. We were overjoyed to win the landmark Registrar case, and we are making it crystal clear that we expect all council employees to provide services to all people, regardless of who they are.

"We are also committing to redouble our efforts to get out into the community and fight on behalf of the gay people who are still suffering from homophobia and even violence - pupils in our schools, older gay people in care, and people from some minority communities."

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