Ben Sumerskill, the head of gay rights group Stonewall has pulled out of speaking at the Tories' first ever Pride event - due to be held on Canal Street tonight - as a result of Michal Kaminsky's appearance at Conservative conference.
Summerskill told Channel 4 News:
"There is no doubt the progress that has been made in the last couple of years has genuinely been historic. It would churlish of anyone not to welcome the apology a couple of months ago over Section 28. But the event tonight has been overshadowed by the presence, not just at conference but on the same platform as some senior members of the party, of people of such extreme and offensive views. And certainly there are people I've spoken to at the conference today, not just gay people but Jewish delegates as well, who share that viewpoint."
I'm not sure that this was an especially useful action by Ben Summerskill.
Clearly many LGBT people are going to vote Tory, and it is in the interests of everyone that the Tories' mind remains changed on LGBT issues.
It's very hard to see what more legislative action *for* lesbians and gays could be take, apart from equalising access to marriage. But it is important to be able to stop certain usual Tory laws that would affect many gay people -for instance laws on prostitution, saunas and pornography could all be tightened.
I do, as a long time gay activist, regret the Quangoisation of LGBT politics, and would not particularly object to a gradual state withdrawal from this area. Peter Tatchell is a much better model of a gay activist as far as I am concerned.
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