Kerry McCarthy says Philip Hammond must prove that he can stand up for LGBT rights as Foreign Secretary Get the latest LGBT headlines in your inbox with our free daily newsletter! Join Share on WhatsApp 1 reader comment
Labour’s Shadow Foreign Minister Kerry McCarthy writes for PinkNews on the appointment of Philip Hammond as Foreign Secretary, and states that he must prove he can stand up for LGBT rights abroad.
The immediate reaction to Philip Hammond’s appointment as Foreign Secretary has largely been seen through the prism of Europe, and what it will mean for the Prime Minister’s already discredited approach to our EU allies.
But important as it is, reform of the EU is not the only task on the new Foreign Secretary’s to-do list.
His predecessor, William Hague, rightly received cross-party praise and credit for bringing together politicians and activists from across the globe for his Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict summit in London last month. He succeeded in building not only political momentum, but also civic action in support.
Many activists and campaigners will be watching closely to see if Phillip Hammond champions this vital cause with similar zeal. With this and other key issues, he clearly has a lot to prove in the remaining ten months before the general election.
One of the reasons for much of the concern is Phillip Hammond’s recent track record on LGBT equality at home in the UK.
He refused to support last year’s landmark legislation on same sex marriage, or civil partnerships 10 years ago, or the repeal of Section 28 before that. He also voted against enabling same sex couples to adopt, and against equalising the age of consent.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has moved forward leaps and bounds in recent years in promoting LGBT rights around the world, particularly as a result of Labour’s introduction of the FCO’s annual human rights report.
It is credit to the work of successive Foreign Secretaries that highlighting discrimination and prejudice against the LGBT community has become an essential part of the FCO’s human rights work.
So, like his voting record, it will undoubtedly cause concern that the new Foreign Secretary has spoken out against same-sex marriage, saying the Government’s same sex marriage bill caused
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