Gay Times makes history with party leaders' pre-election pieces

By Maxine Clayman

For the first time in the history of gay publishing the UK’s main
political party leaders, including the Prime Minister, have addressed a
gay constituency through the press by writing pre-election pieces for
the April issue of Gay Times magazine.

Tony Blair, Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy give their manifestos
on gay issues in the monthly publication in what has been seen as an
attempt to canvas the gay vote.

Homophobic bullying is seen as a major issue by all the candidates.

In
his piece Blair admits discrimination and prejudice still exist and
says: “it will take time to tackle entrenched attitudes as it is harder
for Government to act in these areas.”

Tory leader Michael Howard
called the current level of homophobic bullying “shocking”, describing
it as “part of a wider problem of discipline, which in many of our
schools is now out of control”.

According to Liberal Democrat
leader Charles Kennedy his is “the only party to have consistently
argued for equality for the lesbian, gay and bisexual community”.

Deputy
editor Joseph Galliano said: “This shows society has moved on, gay
people are no longer treated as pariahs and have to be welcomed in to
the mainstream. The gay vote is recognised as being too powerful to be
ignored.

“Given Michael Howard’s previous hostile voting record
in such things as the age of consent and Section 28, which bans the
promotion of homosexuality in schools, it does sound like he’s changed
his tune. Although he hasn’t made specific reference to them, he does
say ‘teachers, not politicians, should run our schools’.”

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