Following on from my earlier posts (here and here) arguing for commitments on funding for blood screening in order that unfair exclusions on donation by gay men can be lifted, I'm very pleased to read that Nick Clegg has aligned the LibDems solidly in favour of such a move.
Modesty forbids me from claiming credit for raising this issue to the attention of my readers in the Houses of Parliament as I'm certain this is something our representatives would be aware of, but I'm glad to see statements in this direction showing LibDem leadership.
The blood ban is a highly practical symbol of the continuing divide in official attitudes towards sexual equality which gives rise to cynical feelings that some politicians in the establishment are more interested in saving cash than saving lives, but Nick Clegg has gone further in identifying areas where discrimination has a real and negative effect on society.
He points out a comprehensive list of areas across the spectrum where dicrimination on the grounds of sexuality could easily be changed.
Apart from lifting the blood ban (which potentially affects everyone) he argues that in early life as well as in adulthood discrimination is allowed to be fostered unchecked.
In faith schools and with regard to 'civil partnerships' homosexual people are treated as second-class citizens by the failure to implement anti-homophobic bullying policies and resistance to allowing equal 'marriage' status.
And in international relations the failure to provide guarantees on asylum for the victims of homophobic persecution or to use diplomatic pressure to push for equal human rights in places like Uganda (where homosexuality is punishable by death) is a stain on British foreign policy, undermining claims to ethical standards or strategic effectiveness.
Labour has not been consistent or principled on the matter, while Conservatives are apathetic at best.
For me equality issues are a vital testing ground, so I think Nick Clegg should be commended for taking such a strong and unequivocal stance clearly stating what needs to be done while the other parties sit back in contemptuous neglect.
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