When Ruth Kelly – who abstained from or voted against key gay equality issues – was given the ‘Equalities’ portfolio in May last year, George Broadhead of the Gay & Lesbian Humanist Association warned:
“Ms Kelly’s equivocal answers to these questions [about homosexuality] bring into question her appointment to this sensitive post. She says that she will make her own mind up about the issues and follow the Government’s policy, but how can we be sure that she will be able to put her deep attachment to this extremist Catholic group to one side when making decisions?”
Peter Tatchell of OutRage! commented:
“Tony Blair would never appoint someone to a race-equality post who had a lukewarm record of opposing racism.”
Despite the warnings that it made no sense to appoint someone in charge of equalities who had already thrown in her lot with the chief group seeking exemptions from compliance with equality legislation, the government plowed ahead and gave Kelly, a member of the ultra-conservative Catholic organisation, Opus Dei, the job.
Now Kelly finds it impossible to put aside her personal views and is helping to drive ‘a horse and coaches’ through equality legislation.
“It’s not acceptable to exempt gay couples before considering whether they are suitable… You can’t have an equal rights law with exemptions like that – you either have equal rights law or you don’t,” said Eagle.
The Number 10 website allows one to directly petition the Prime Minister. Now it is hosting a petition to remove Ruth Kelly. I’ve signed it.
By signing it, I am not suggesting that anyone with strong religious beliefs is unfit to hold office. They are – but not this one. It is an obscenity that the person put in charge of the now-combined equalities portfolio shills for the one lobby that seeks exemptions.
As I said in an earlier post on a similar issue: either everyone is protected or no-one. It is absurd that it is illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of their religious faith but they are exempt from having to return the courtesy.
Labour MEP, Michael Cashman, is backing calls for Ruth Kelly to resign.