Monday, 14 June 2010

Do We Have A Gay Friendly Council?

At today's full council meeting, Lib Dem Cllr Alex Foster tabled a motion requesting the following -

"This Council…

Celebrates today's World Blood Donor Day, which highlights the importance of blood donation.

Celebrates the work of phlebotomists across the UK, and everyone who keeps this vital life-saving service running.

Urges all those who are able to donate blood to do so regularly.

Regrets that the blood service in the UK discriminates unfairly against different groups in our society including gay men and bisexual men.

Pledges that the Portfolio Holder for Adult Support and Health will write to and lobby central government and the National Blood Service, urging them to scrap their discriminatory and outdated policy towards gay and bisexual men."

Nothing controversial there in these enlightened times surely?

Here is Cllr Foster's tweet reporting the result -

Hmmm. Now why would they do that?

Next year local authorities will be subject to a new 'Public Sector Equality Duty' which will extend similar duties of promoting equality to age, sexual orientation, religion or belief and gender reassignment as currently apply to race, disability and gender. Regulations have yet to be finalised so I don't know whether removing a reference to anti-discrimination of gay men from a motion such as this would breach the duties but it's hardly in the spirit of things.

I suspect (and hope) that we haven't heard the last of this...

Addendum - you might want to have a look at this rather self-congratulatory report on NCC's progress towards 'excellence' in equalities to be presented to the rather lovely and benign sounding 'Community and Wellbeing Committee' on June 21. You can decide for yourself whether this decision is consistent with the requirements under the 'sexuality' heading.

17 June - Update via Cllr Foster's blog. Doesn't look like it was a particularly pleasant experience for him but more positively five Labour councillors, including three frontbenchers, abstained which is unheard of.

Update 21 June - The Post's angle on this. It reports that the three Labour front bench councillors who abstained were David Mellen, Jane Urquhart and David Liversidge. Sheriff Penny Griggs also abstained.


Niles said...

The Labour portfolio holder ACTUALLY used the phrase "I have gay friends, but..."

Andy said...

*holds head in hands, weeps*

Niles said...

Have now written it up here.

Andy said...

Was just adding a short update while you were adding that!

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Andy said...

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