Green Party manifesto outlines commitments to LGBT rights

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The Green Party has outlined a number of equality measures in its manifesto – including pension equality for gay couples, mandatory sex and relationship eduction, and stronger legislation against hate crime.

The party made the commitments in its manifesto, which was launched today by party leader Natalie Bennett and Green MP Caroline Lucas.

It makes a number of pledges on issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people – notably backing reform to pension legislation for same-sex couples.

At current, all same-sex spouses and civil partners are only eligible to receive survivor benefits at a lower widower rate than is provided for heterosexual widows.

It also calls for a review on ending the ban on gay men giving blood – and the party joins Labour, the Lib Dems and the Conservatives in calling for men found guilty of historic gay sex offences to be pardoned.

It says in full:

Despite recent modest advances, discrimination against LGBTIQ people remains in such areas as housing, education, employment and health. The Green Party supports campaigns to advance LGBTIQ rights and aims to build a society where everyone is valued, respected and empowered, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity.

We will:

* Legislate to remedy inequality in pension inheritance for same-sex marriage partners and same-sex civil partners

* Consider reducing the 12-month blood donation deferral period for men who have sex with men, based on individual risk assessment where the donor is identified to be not at risk of passing infections into the blood supply.

* Apologise and pardon all 50,000 – 100,00 men convicted of consenting adult same-sex relations under anti-gay laws that have now been repealed

* Provide mandatory HIV, sex and relationship education  age appropriate and LGBTIQ inclusive – in all schools from primary level onwards.

* Require every school to have an anti-bullying programme that explicitly combats homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

* Combat homophobic, biphobic and transphobic violence by ensuring uniform legislation against all forms of hate crime.

* End the cuts to the NHS, which have undermined HIV services and made it harder for trans people to access gender reassignment services.

* End the detention of LGBTIQ (and other) asylum seekers and the culture of disbelief that often denies them refugee status.

* Challenge criminalisation, discrimination and violence against LGBTIQ people in other countries and work in solidarity with campaigners there.

* Press the Commonwealth to grant accredited status to a Commonwealth LGBTIQ Association and urge all member states to end the criminalisation of homosexuality and protect LGBTIQ citizens against discrimination and hate crime.

The party also outlines equality legislation to better protect women, young people and disabled people – though ironically the manifesto is not available in an accessible format, and so a number of disabled people will not actually be able to read it.

The Conservatives also launched their manifesto today – pledging to pardon gay men convicted of historic sex offences.

The move means all major parties except UKIP now agree on the issue, with Labour leader Ed Miliband and Lib Dem justice minister Simon Hughes both recently pledging that their parties will bring forward legislation on the issue.

Mr Miliband later clarified his commitment was to wipe out the records entirely – not to ‘pardon’ them, which would still technically mean they were guilty of a crime. PinkNews has approached the Conservative Party to clarify the manifesto point.