Thirty LGBTI MPs and members of the House of Lords have today signed a cross-party letter urging Britain to vote to stay in the EU to protect the rights of the LGBTI community.
Published today, to coincide with International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the letter has been signed by figures including Chris Bryant, Angela Eagle, Baroness Jenny Hilton and Margot James.
The letter cites job security, the protection of human rights, the ending of discrimination and promotion of same-sex marriage as some of the examples of how Britain’s membership of the EU has benefitted the LGBTI community.
It concludes: “A lot has been achieved but there’s still more to be done. This year the EU hopes to secure agreement on the advancement of LGBTI equality covering education, employment, health and asylum across all 28 member states. Why would we risk all of this by leaving the EU?”
Wes Streeting MP, said: “Being a part of the European Union has been fundamental in the progression of LGBTI rights in the UK by helping to fight discrimination in the workplace and across society more generally. Leaving the EU would be a backwards step for the LGBTI community and is a move that we must resist. That is made clear by the overwhelming support for today’s letter.”
Actor, Sir Ian McKellen also joined the debate today confirming to Gay Star News that he would be voting for Britain to stay in the EU.
He said: “It bothers me a bit that if Europe begins to break up then the idea that gay people should be looked after may go out the window. I think on those grounds, that’s why I’ll be voting to stay in.
“Also we are international, we have the same experience, let’s say, of coming out as someone in Russia, someone in Africa, someone in New Zealand – we have connections. So the idea that we should withdraw to our little island and be on our own doesn’t make sense to me.
“I don’t really feel very excited about the idea of not knowing what’s going to happen. And we really don’t know what’s going to happen. The impulse of a lot of people to get out of Europe is contrary to my view, which is that we should get closer to people.”
The full letter reads:
As LGBTI MPs and members of the House of Lords, we’re voting to remain in the EU in the upcoming referendum on 23rd June.
And here’s why:
LGBTI people are more secure in our jobs – Europe introduced laws preventing discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
We’re safer travelling across Europe and the world – The EU protects and promotes human rights, and it prioritises action to end discrimination against the LGBTI community. This strong position has been supported with £1 billion to fund international campaigns making the world a better place for LGBTI people like us.
It promotes recognition of same-sex marriage – The EU requires that same-sex marriage is equally recognised across all member states that treat same-sex unions equally to opposite sex couples. The European Parliament is pushing to extend recognition to all EU member states.
A lot has been achieved but there’s still more to be done. This year the EU hopes to secure agreement on the advancement of LGBTI equality covering education, employment, health and asylum across all 28 member states.
Why would we risk all of this by leaving the EU?
Angela Crawley MP
Angela Eagle MP
Ben Howlett MP
Ben Bradshaw MP
Chris Bryant MP
David Mundell MP
Gerald Jones MP
Gordon Marsden MP
Hannah Bardell MP
Joanna Cherry MP
John Nicolson MP
Margot James MP
Martin Docherty – Hughes MP
Mike Freer MP
Nia Griffith MP
Nick Boles MP
Nick Herbert MP
Stephen Doughty MP
Steve Reed MP
Stephen Twigg MP
Stewart McDonald MP
Peter Kyle MP
Wes Streeting MP
Baroness Elizabeth Barker
Lord Guy Black
Lord Michael Cashman
Lord Ray Collins
Baroness Jenny Hilton
Lord Jonathan Oates
Lord Brian Paddick
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