Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ruth Kelly just carries on digging....

Ruth Kelly is doing it again. The Opus Dei One is blocking plans over lesbian and gay rights legislation much to "No. 10 wannabe" Alan Johnson’s chagrin. He wrote to Kelly stating that the new rights should not be watered down. She is doing this following protests from religious organisations. The sticking point is proposals to stop schools, companies and other agencies refusing services to people purely because of their sexuality.

Bliar is anxious about the impact on faith schools and faith-based adoption agencies, which are demanding to be exempt from the law. The proposals originally came from Johnson’s department when he was Trade and Industry Secretary but due to reorganisation got transferred to Kelly’s department. And now these regulations are being delayed until next April because, “there are some difficult issues". Yeah, like what?

As Ben Summerskill argues: “It be playing into the offensive and completely dishonest stereotype that somehow gay people are not safe with children, and the impact that would certainly have on the wider gay and lesbian public is [feeling] that the government is stigmatising gay people for no reason”.

“It would be an enormous mistake to provide exemptions for faith-based organisations”. (Chris Bryant Labour MP).

It seems that Ruth Kelly is doing her damned hardest to alienate and isolate lesbians and gay men. I asked this question before on a previous post on Kelly when I asked, who exactly is she is accountable to. I ask it again because it is becoming more apparent that she isn’t opposed to discrimination and oppression. Instead she seems to be pushing her own religious ideology.

Interestingly, Johnson is standing up to her because the proposals came from his department but also his background is in the trade union movement (yeah, he was a bureaucrat) where at least there is an understanding and awareness of equality issues though this exposes his own contradictions as a Blairite.

I don’t care that Kelly is religious but what does increasingly worry me is that she seems to be letting her own “private” views slip into her political life. Her accountability rests with the Labour Party and not Opus Dei. At least be honest about your views, Kelly, and not hide behind bland and ambiguous statements. Which side are you?