UKIP (led by Nigel Farage) has come under criticism from LGBT rights groups for being the single main political party to not address LGBT rights specifically in their manifesto ahead of the 7 May 2015 UK General Election.
News of their failure to specifically address LGBT rights was seen as a rather surprising move, considering the other major parties manifestos have outlined their own plans to support LGBT individuals.
“UKIP believe absolutely in equality,” a UKIP spokesperson told the Independent in defence of their actions. “And as such have produced a manifesto for all, rather than driven by the needs of differing special interest groups.
“We believe that amongst other things properly funded healthcare, that lower taxes, that a decent defence and political freedom from the European Union are things that are good for all people regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual preference. It is a message of equality and universality.”
The UKIP manifesto did address their stance on sex education in schools, another hotly debated topic: “We support age-appropriate sex and relationship education at secondary level, but not for primary school children,” reads the UKIP manifesto.
“There is a world of difference between teaching young children about online safety or telling them no one else is allowed to touch the private parts of their body, which is a sensible way to help and encourage reporting of abuse and going into too much detail. The latter risks sexualising childhood, causing confusion and anxiety, and encouraging experimentation.
“We will also rule that all parents must be made fully aware of the sex education teaching materials being used, before their children see it, and we will continue to respect their rights to withdraw children from sex-education classes if they wish.”
A spokesperson for the internationally recognised LGBT charity Stonewall issued the following statement: “It’s extremely disappointing that UKIP has failed to recognise or agree to help tackle issues affecting the way certain groups of people can live freely as themselves without fear of persecution or discrimination.
“We’re at an extremely important point in the LGBT movement where, if we have any hope of achieving this, complacency is not an option”.
The Conservative Party (led by David Cameron) pledged in their own 2015 General Election Manifesto to pardon gay men who were convicted and imprisoned for homosexuality, even if deceased. The Tories also reminds potential voters that the coalition between themselves and the Lib Dems introduced gay marriage to the UK.
Labour (Led by Ed Miliband) promises they would tackle age-appropriate sex education, and would aim to directly tackle homosexual bullying in schools. They also want to take a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime, tightening up the laws, for example, on homophobic hate crime.
The Liberal Democrats (led by Nick Clegg) dedicated a page of their UK 2015 General Election manifesto specifically on gender and LGBT equality. Chief amongst the points made was using the UK’s political influence abroad to help in countries where being gay is criminal offence, pardoning all historic homosexual convictions and also increasing the rights of LGBT couples rights in the event of either a breakup or death.
Moment Nigel Farage challenged the audience