UK Tories Publish “Rainbow List” of Out Gay Candidates
March 8th, 2010
Imagine if someday there were a similar headline for the GOP:
In the latest development in his campaign to show how dramatically the Tories have changed, David Cameron has published the party’s first-ever official list of openly gay MPs. The Conservatives say they have 20 openly gay candidates standing in the Election. Of those, 11 told party chiefs they were ‘happy’ to be named in the first authorised list of gay Conservative candidates.
…[Openly gay Tory MP Nick] Herbert said: ‘A successful political party ought to look like the country it seeks to govern. If we were truly representative, we would have 99 women, 16 black or ethnic minority and ten gay MPs.’
Tories to GOP: Don’t Close the Door on Gays
February 17th, 2010
Nick Herbert, Britain’s openly-gay shadow Environment Secretary and member of Britain’s Conservative Party, urged American conservatives to embrace LGBT people or risk years in the political wilderness.
Speaking at a debate at the Cato Institute in Washington on gay marriage, MP Herbert said:
“I am not here to preach or to interfere in your affairs,” he said. “I am here neither to tea party nor to go clubbing. But I can tell you what happens to a party when it closes the door to sections of our society and is reduced to its core vote. It’s no fun being in opposition for thirteen years.”
Herbert spoke of the damage that prior anti-gay Conservative governments have inflicted on the party’s reputation and the lengths that party leader David Cameron has gone through to try to heal the breach:
And our party leader, David Cameron, has publicly apologised for Section 28, legislation introduced by a previous Conservative government which effectively prohibited the teaching of the validity of gay relationships in schools, a law which was deeply unpopular not just amongst gay people, but with those who saw it as a divisive and unpleasant sign of state intolerance.
We needed to say sorry for a stance that was wrong. The truth is that there are millions of people who we drove away but who share our values and want to join us.”
I have no doubt that there are millions of conservatively-minded people here in America which are being driven away from the GOP over its embrace of anti-gay politics as a wedge issue. Maybe someday the GOP will realize the mistake they are making. But with all the noise generated by the teabaggers — er, tea partiers — I doubt it will come anytime soon. Two years do not a wilderness make.
Britian’s Gays Go Conservative
July 6th, 2009
The Tories, the conservative party in the UK, have decided that you can be conservative and pro-gay at the same time. And over the past few years they’ve made a concerted effort to change the image of their party, promote gay MPs into positions of leadership, and just last week apologized for a 1988-2003 law that banned the “promotion” of homosexuality or teaching of its “accepability”.
“I’m sorry for Section 28. We got it wrong. It was an emotional issue. We’ve got to move on and we have moved on,” [Conservative Leader David Cameron] said.
He insisted that under his leadership the party was embracing gay rights and predicted it would produce Britain’s first gay prime minister.
The Conservatives even found that “pro-family” can be a policy of support for relationships, both gay and straight, instead of a code word for exclusion.
When David Cameron used his first conference speech as party leader to talk about the importance of marriage, he added that the commitment was as important for gay couples as for those who are straight. The conference audience applauded. From that moment, any doubt that the Conservative party was changing its attitude towards gay people should have been dispelled.
And it’s working. An op-ed in The Guardian reports
A reputable new poll has found that 38% of gay men intend to vote Conservative at the next election – more than any other party, and a swing away from Labour of 14.2%.
There are still remnants of homophobia in the party, and Liberals indignantly warn that this is just a ruse, an appeal for votes that has no substance.
But whether this is just a cynical deception or a sincere change of heart, it is definitely a win-win for gays and for the Tories. For the first time, UK gays have both major parties competing for their votes. And the Tories benefit by appearing more tolerant and modern – and by winning a larger share of the “pink vote.”
Someone send a memo to the Republican Party.