Amy Lamé: I ‘owe’ the Labour party for letting me stay in the UK with my girlfriend

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

US-born comedian Amy Lamé has said she feels like she “owes” the Labour party – because it recognised same-sex relationships, allowing her to stay in the UK with her British girlfriend.

As Labour officially launched their LGBT manifesto this week, the long-term Labour activist and comedian spoke about the party’s reforms under previous leader Tony Blair.

She told PinkNews of her support for Labour: “I felt like I had to give Labour back what they had given me.

“Politics is in my blood…. but the big change for me was in ’97 when Labour put LGBT rights at the heart of their manifesto, meaning foreign LGBT partners could stay in the country if they were with a UK national.

“My girlfriend was British and I was American, so it meant that we could apply for me to stay here and we could build a life together. It changed my world.

“This is way before we could have imagined equal marriage and civil partnerships! It changed so many people’s lives. That really clinched it for me.”

Ms Lamé had stood to become a Labour Parliamentary candidate last year – but failed to be selected.

The comedian also shared her thoughts on the current UK legislation surrounding LGBT rights and how she thinks they can be improved.

She said: “I think the legislation could be improved by actually consulting the communities it effects. What Labour has achieved so far is amazing, but there is so much more to do.

“The most important is talking to the communities involved and making the changes not just in law, but a societal change.

“It’s something we’ve seen more widely with gay marriage – it’s become completely normalised! I mean, you’re nobody unless you’ve been to a gay wedding now!”

She also welcomed Labour’s plans to review the guidelines regarding LGBT asylum seekers, saying: “A review is absolutely necessary! These tests that are done! If a woman has a child, then she isn’t a lesbian!

“The poor guy in the news a few years back who was tested on his knowledge of Kylie Minogue! He was Central African for crying out loud! How would he know? And why should that be a test of how gay you are?”

Earlier today, actor and gay rights legend Sir Ian McKellen made a surprise endorsement of the Labour party’s commitment to LGBT rights.

Yesterday, a charity that supports gay and lesbian asylum seekers welcomed the Labour party’s pledge to reform the system for people seeking asylum.