A new British secretary of state not noted for her positive voting record on issues concerning homosexuality has sent a message of support to today’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO).
Theresa May, the Tory Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equality in the new coalition government, has promised that the new government will tackle homophobic bullying and put pressure on countries with poor human-rights records to improve their treatment of gay, bisexual and transgendered people, says Pink News.
The online news outlet quotes her as saying: “This government is committed to creating a society that is fair for everyone and supports equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans [LGBT] people.
“This means supporting civil partnerships, tackling homophobic bullying wherever it occurs, changing the law regarding historic convictions for consensual gay sex and using our international influence to put pressure on countries where LGBT people are persecuted.
“These commitments show our determination to tear down the barriers that continue to hold people back.”
May has not been known for her positive voting record when it’s come to gay issues in the past, and her appointment by new Prime Minister David Cameron caused concern among gay campaigners, some of whom organized an online petition to get rid of her.
Pink Newsprovided an analysis of how she has voted in the past:
In 1998 she voted against equalizing the age of consent [from 18 to 16] and in 2000, she voted against the repeal of Section 28, legislation that banned the “promotion” of homosexuality by local government and schools.
In 2001 and 2002 she voted against gay couples jointly adopting children.
In 2004, like much of the [then opposition] Conservative front bench, Mrs May did vote in favour of civil partnerships.
But in the same year, Mrs May didn't attend Parliament for any of the four votes that led to the Gender Recognition Act.
In 2008 she voted in favour of a defeated bill which said that IVF rights should require a male role model – effectively discriminating against lesbian fertility rights.
Today, she released a message of support for DAHO, which is held on May 17 each year because it was on this day in 1990 that the World Health Organization struck homosexuality from the international classification of diseases.
IDAHO this year has religion in its sights. The organization’s website links to a petition calling on religions to “stop fuelling homophobia and transphobia” and instead to “act for universal human rights for all people”.