Ten of the nation’s most important gay rights groups have joined forces in the fight for lesbian, gay and bisexual equality.
27 members from major organisations met on Saturday, 7th March, at the King Edward VI in Islington, and voted unanimously to work together to launch a new national offensive for human rights.
The groups and individuals involved are deeply concerned that the campaign for equality is being stalled by recent set-backs in the British and European courts and by the unwillingness of the new Labour Government to repeal discriminatory laws. Two recent examples are the failed case of Lisa Grant (see European Court Press Release), and the prosecution of the Bolton 7.
The group’s immediate objectives are:
- To organise a national standing forum within the next month. All sections of the community will be invited to participate to decide collectively the way forward against homophobic discrimination.
- To give notice to the Government, all political parties and all Members of Parliament that the continuing denial of lesbian and gay human rights is intolerable, and that we are no longer prepared to be treated as second-class citizens. The Government can expect to be fought in the courts, in Parliament, by peaceful demonstration, and by direct action at every opportunity.
- No Government would allow such discrimination against women or ethnic minorities. The denial of equality to lesbian, gay and bisexual people is unacceptable.
To ensure that this year’s Pride march is organised as a political demonstration as part of a much larger campaign for homosexual human rights, as we have seen in the recent success of the countryside campaign.
The groups represented at Saturday’s meeting want to unite with other lesbian and gay rights groups across the continent to build a Europe-wide campaign for lesbian and gay equality, with the aim of achieving legislative change in the European Union.
For too long, the enemies of equality have exploited the fact that lesbian and gay organisations fight individually for their own aspects of the cause. This forum plans to unite small and large organisations in a coordinated campaign.
It is not intended to tell groups how to operate, but to act as an opportunity for the exchange of information and to coordinate campaigning. It will enable both small and large organisations to pool their efforts so the maximum pressure can be applied to the enemies of human rights.