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Openly Gay Stephen Fry and Other Entertainers Put Pressure on Cameron and the Tories

Call for Conservatives to distance themselves from homophobic Polish political group

 

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LONDON, October 6, 2009    Pressure on Conservative leader David Cameron over the Tory ‘alliance’ with the Polish Law and Justice Party (PiS) in the European Parliament continued today with the release of an ‘open letter’ signed by a number of entertainers, including Stephen Fry, Patrick Stewart and Eddie Izzard.

They join a number of gay activists from the political arena, including Angela Mason OBE, Labour MEP and president of the European Parliament’s all-party ‘intergroup’ for gay and lesbian human rights Michael Cashman and four trades unions.

The letter (in full below) urges Mr. Cameron to get tough with the PiS – “urging them either to change their views or quit your new European group”.

Mr. Cameron and the Conservatives are praised for hosting a high profile LGBT event at their annual conference this week in Manchester – ‘Conference Pride’ is tonight at Spirit in Canal Street in the city’s ‘gay village’.

“But,” the letter continues, “if your Conservative Party really cares about equality then you must recognise the need not just to condemn the views of the Polish Law and Justice Party but to stop them from being spread in Manchester and throughout Europe.”

The letter comes a day after Peter Tatchell challenged Mr. Cameron to take action on a number of ‘gay equality’ issues, including a withdraw from the European Parliament alliance with the homophobic Polish Law and Justice Party, Dutch Christian Union and Latvian Fatherland and Freedom Party.

“Mr Cameron, we want to believe the Conservative Party has really changed –  please help us by rescinding the invite to the Polish Law and Justice Party and urging them either to change their views or quit your new European group,” the letter implores.

FULL TEXT OF THE LETTER

Dear Mr Cameron,

As the Conservative Party gathers in Manchester, just a few weeks after thousands marched for Pride, we want to share our concern that the Conservative conference is lending legitimacy to a group of political parties in Eastern Europe whose views on gay rights are anything but progressive.

We know you say that the Conservative Party’s history of opposing gay rights and supporting Section 28 has been left behind. But if your Conservative Party really cares about equality then you must recognise the need not just to condemn the views of the Polish Law and Justice Party but to stop them from being spread in Manchester and throughout Europe.

It is not just that your new Polish allies oppose gay marriage and adoption but that their vile rhetoric – branding homosexuality as a ‘pathology’, gays as ‘perverts’, and describing ‘the affirmation of homosexuality’ as ‘the downfall of civilisation’ – was used to whip up hate during their election campaign. Your Party's decision to host an LGBT event at conference is a good step in the right direction. But it will seem empty - a two faced gesture -  if in the same week you fawn over allies whose homophobia has no place in modern Manchester, in modern Britain, or in Europe.

Mr Cameron we want to believe the Conservative Party has really changed - please help us by rescinding the invite to the Polish Law and Justice Party and urging them either to change their views or quit your new European group.

Yours sincerely,

Patrick Stewart
Stephen Fry
Jo Brand
Eddie Izzard
Tony Robinson
Arabella Weir
Steve Cram
Roberta Taylor
Angela Mason, OBE
Michael Cashman (Labour MEP and President of the European Parliament's Intergroup on LGBT Rights)
Arlene McCarthy (Labour MEP – North West)
Glenis Willmott (EPLP Leader)
Allison Curbishley
Amy Lamé
Peter Guiness
Derek Simpson (Joint General Secretary UNITE)
Tony Woodley (Joint General Secretary UNITE)
Billy Hayes (General Secretary CWU)
Wes Streeting (NUS President)
Dave Prentis (Gen Sec UNISON)

SEE ALSO

Tatchell: What Gay Rights Policies Will a Tory Government Deliver?   Conservative Party leader David Cameron is all talk and no action on gay rights, Peter Tatchell said this morning as the Tory party annual conference got underway in Manchester.  (UK Gay News, October 5, 2009)

Polish PiS Party Will Not Apologise to Gays for Its Homophobia.  The recent statement by William Hague, a former leader of the British Conservatives, that his party’s new political allies in the European Parliament, the Polish Law and Justice Party (PiS) had moderated their views on gays and gay rights has been dismissed in Poland. (UK Gay News, July 7, 2009)

UK Tories Take the PiS in New Euro Political Group of Anti-Gay, Racist Parties Commentary.  It is now official.  After a few years of rumours and a year of speculation following David Cameron’s announcement that he was pulling his MEPs out of the centre-right EPP-ED group, the British Conservatives have jumped into the European Parliament “bed” with two other major Eastern European right wing parties. And one of them is the gay-hating Law and Justice (PiS) Party from Poland headed by the country’s president Lech Kaczyński, who when Mayor of Warsaw banned gay prides in the capital, and his equally homophobic twin brother Jarosław, a former Prime Minister.  (UK Gay News, June 22, 2009)

Tories Must Make Clear if They Are Joining Anti-Gay Parties in Europe – Lib Dems Liberal Democrats are pressing the Conservatives to clarify if they are intending to form an alliance with the anti-gay Polish Law and Justice (PiS) party in the European Parliament.  (UK Gay News, March 17, 2009)

Poland Urged to Drop New Law Banning ‘Homosexual Propaganda’ in Schools Following a debate on homophobia in Europe yesterday, the European Parliament adopted a resolution today voicing concern at the recent announcement by the anti-gay Polish Education Minister of a new draft law to outlaw ‘homosexual propaganda’ in schools.  (UK Gay News, April 26, 2007)

The Two Who Stole Le Madame:  Polish Political Twins Target Gay Club  Officially, Warsaw’s famed Le Madame club  – once a gay club, but more recently a venue for everyone, “gay, straight, whatever” – should have closed at the weekend.  But some habitués have decided this is not to be and are refusing to leave the haven of left-wing thought and expression in a right-wing country.  (UK Gay News, March 28, 2006)

 

 

 

 

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Posted: 6 Oct 2009 at 09:30 (UK time)

   
             
       

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