What will Theresa May’s DUP deal mean for LGBT rights in the UK?

Following a disastrous election result British Prime Minister Theresa May is hoping to cling to power by forming a government through a partnership between her Conservative party and the smaller Democratic Unionist Party.

LGBTI groups however have raised concern about what effect this might have on gay rights in the UK given the smaller party’s long history of opposing law reforms.

May had hoped that by calling a snap election she would have bolstered her party’s position in the parliament, instead she lost 12 seats and unless she can put together a coalition with another party she won’t be able to claim a majority.

The Conservatives have announced they will team up with the DUP, a party from Northern Ireland. Their new bed mates are opposed to abortion, same-sex marriage and were previously against the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Northern Ireland.

The party is strongly opposed to allowing marriage equality in Northern Ireland, the only part of Britain which still stops same-sex couples from being wed, and has also advocates for a ‘conscience clause’ which would make people holding religious beliefs be exempt from discrimination laws.

Ruth Davison, the leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, has told the BBC that she’s asked the Prime Minister for her assurance that LGBTI rights in the UK won’t be wound back under the deal.

“I asked for categoric assurance that if any deal was done with tehDUP that there would be no rescission of LGBT rights in the rest of the UK,” Davison said.

The Scottish leader, who is set to marry her same-sex partner in the near future, said she hoped a partnership between the two parties would have a positive effect on LGBTI rights in Northern Ireland.

Stonewall, the leading LGBTI rights group in the United Kingdom has also urged the government to keep it’s promise to LGBTI voters.

“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.” Stonewall CEO Ruth Hunt told Pink News.

“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.” Hunt said.

OIP Staff

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