NEWS FROM THE NATIONAL GREEN PARTY LGBT GROUP
Greens question appointment of Dr Joel Edwards to Commission
Greens assert that Commission should uphold the equality of the LGBT Communities
In a letter written today to the Chair of the new Equalities and Human Rights Commission, Trevor Phillips, the LGBT Group of the Green Party and the Green Party’s Principal Speakers, have asserted that the new Commission should explicitly uphold the equality of the LGBT Communities at its centre.
“There should be no get-out clauses for homophobes who want to sit on the Commission which is purportedly about helping to secure delivery of equality for our communities.” Stated Phelim Mac Cafferty, on behalf of the Green Party LGBT Group.
“If the new Commission is to harness the trust of the LGBT communities, the Chair of the Commission, Trevor Phillips, must re-examine Dr Joel Edwards appointment. I encourage everyone who doesn’t want a homophobe on the EHRC to email Trevor Phillips email@example.com to complain about this appointment."
Dear Trevor Phillips
We are writing to you because we are concerned about the appointment of one of the Commissioners.
The LGBT Group in the Green Party and the Green Party’s Principal Speakers oppose the appointment of General Director of the Evangelical Alliance, Dr Joel Edwards, to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.
The Evangelical Alliance opposes the new government LGBT hate crime legislation and even submitted evidence in October in front of the House of Commons Justice committee examining the need for the new legislation.
Joel Edwards has described homosexuality as “sinful” and along with his Evangelical Alliance organized large protests against the introduction of the Sexual Orientation Regulations, which as you know, provide equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people when accessing services.
In a period of time when the LGBT communities are still cautious about the Commission’s ability to take sexuality and gender identity as seriously as the other strands of equality, we would suggest that this appointment has been a mistake. Further in the context of the heinous homophobic murder of Jody Dubrowski in Clapham that led many of us to campaign for specific homophobic hate crime legislation, we think it’s dangerous to have homophobic opinions held high by the public body purportedly addressing equalities. We do not feel that a Commissioner who was LGBT and who expressed racist or sexist opinions would be tolerated and we don’t think Dr Edwards’ opinions should be either.
We have pushed for the creation of an offence of homophobic hate crime, the introduction of the Sexual Orientation Regulations and the Goods, Services and Facilities Regulations, the repeal of Section 28 and an end to the unequal age of consent. For this reason, we are not prepared to allow homophobia to go unchecked and urge you to review Dr Edwards’ position. Dr. Edwards should be encouraged to do the honourable thing and step down, as true equality for the LGBT Communities is clearly not part of his vision.
Green Party LGBT Group
Lesley Hedges and Nigel Tart, National Spokespeople
Clare O'Regan, National Chair
Joseph Healy, International Officer
Dave Walsh, Web Officer
Phelim Mac Cafferty, National Media Officer
Green Party of England and Wales
Derek Wall and Caroline Lucas MEP, Principal Speakers