LGBT legal support organisation fights for charitable status at tribunal

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Leading LGBT legal organisation The Human Dignity Trust (HDT) is fighting to be recognised as a charity at a tribunal today, and states that the Charity Commission “fundamentally misunderstands” its work.

The HDT was last November forced to appeal against a decision to deny it from holding charitable status, raising concerns across the voluntary sector for groups standing up for LGBT rights.

The human rights group’s application for charitable status was rejected by the Charity Commission, which said the group’s work was too political, and that it failed its ‘public benefit’ test.

At a tribunal which began yesterday, the HDT faces arguments by the Commission that because it is “fundamentally concerned” with changing laws abroad, it should not be registered as a charity.

The HDT argues: “The decriminalisation of homosexuality is not a political issue, it is about fundamental human rights; criminalising homosexuality is a violation of domestic and international human rights law.”

While expecting to prevail, the HDT expects to face a legal bill of up to £40,000, which will not be refunded by the Charity Commission, despite having pro-bono support. It is raising funds here.

The Human Dignity Trust campaigns against the criminalisation of homosexuality in foreign countries by challenging the law in court where it feels it is unconstitutional.

The case continues.