Nick Clegg: We must stand up for LGBT rights at the Commonwealth Games

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Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg writes for PinkNews of the importance of standing up for LGBT rights at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The Commonwealth core values and principles which all Commonwealth countries sign up to are clear. They say that “We are committed to equality and respect for the protection and promotion of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights”

Yet almost 80 per cent of Commonwealth countries [42 out of 53 countries] that are represented here in Glasgow this week criminalise homosexuality in some way.

“We’ve come a long way in this country towards achieving the genuine equality that LGBT people have always wanted and deserved. This includes last year’s landmark equal marriage reform. Yet there’s still a huge amount to be done across the world.

As we celebrate the bravery of Olympians who have come out – Tom Daley, Ian Thorpe or Nicola Adams for example – some countries are taking backward steps; putting their LGBT Olympians so far back in the closet that they can’t ever imagine their day in the open.

We can’t dictate how other nations behave but we can promote the principles we believe in – of a fair and open society both in the UK and abroad.

“That is why my colleague Lynne Featherstone is leading an LGBT policy review, which was set up in response to the passage of Uganda’s new and draconian anti-homosexuality law.

When it’s published, I hope it will help us hardwire LGBT rights into our entire human rights agenda – through every bilateral meeting, every multilateral relationship, and every corner of the world.

The message is clear: LGBT rights are human rights. So we need LGBT protections to be a part of anti-discrimination laws everywhere.

This means absolutely continuing to support LGBT campaigners on the ground around the world – they are the key to change in their local communities and countries.

It means talking to multi-national businesses to encourage them to make the business case against homophobia.

Love is the same – whichever village, town, city, country or continent you live in. It binds people together and makes communities stronger.

I will continue to say that to all those people in power, or not, who seek to deny these freedoms to others across the world.

I believe in the principle that you should leave no one behind – regardless of race, gender, age, creed, or sexual orientation.

Nick Clegg is Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Liberal Democrats.