The Northern Ireland Assembly election takes place on Thursday 5 May 2016, but what do the main political parties in Northern Ireland say about LGBT specific issues in their 2016 Assembly manifestos?
If you don’t have the time to read all the manifestos then check out our quick look guide below!
The Alliance Party have a specific section in their manifesto relating to LGBT issues:
Alliance has long supported the improvement of rights afforded to the LGBT community, who often face discrimination on a wide range of issues. Our priorities for improving the rights of LGBT people include:
- Introducing legislation to extend civil marriage provisions to same sex couples, provided that robust protections are provided through legislation to protect faith groups and religious celebrants who do not wish to marry same-sex couples.
- Continuing to oppose the proposed ‘Conscience Clause’ which is poorly defined and is a charter for discrimination.
- Lifting the ban on gay (and unmarried) couples adopting and the lifetime ban on gay men giving blood, in line with the rest of the UK.
- Producing guidance for schools on tackling homophobic bullying.
- Going beyond the legislation that has removed any requirement to provide notification of abolished sexual offences, by seeking to provide pardons for people who were convicted under outdated indecency laws.
- Asking every service to audit how their services are provided to LGBT people to ensure no accidental bias is included in the public services.
- Developing a comprehensive Strategy for Transgender People to ensure that the distinct needs of transgender people are reflected in public services and other areas of life. We will back this up with legislation if necessary
You can read the full Alliance Party manifesto here
The DUP makes no explicit reference to the LGB&T community in their manifesto but do make a comment on marriage:
(The DUP has) stood by its commitment to family values and marriage and will continue to do so.
You can read the full DUP manifesto in full here
Within their main manifesto the Green Party state the following:
Green Party will:
- improve health outcomes for LGBT community by promoting evidence based and accessible healthcare
- Bring forward legislation for equal marriage
- End the blood ban for men who have sex with men
- Update Gender Recognition Act 2004 to provide transgender and non-binary people in Northern Ireland with gender recognition processes based on self declaration
The Green Party also have a ‘Queer Greens’ manifesto which is LGBT specific.
You can view both Green Party manifestos in full here
Within their manifesto the SDLP state:
- (We will) press for the introduction of the Sexual Orientation Strategy
- We will bring forward legislation to extend the right to marry with full family status to same sex couples.
You can view the SDLP manifesto in full here
Within Sinn Féin’s manifesto they state that they will:
- Develop and deliver strategies on Gender Equality and Sexual Orientation
- Promote equality measures for all people and all communities
- Introduce legislation to ensure that the provision of Goods, Facilities and Services applies protections equally on all grounds of discrimination
- Continue to support marriage equality and equality
You can view the Sinn Féin manifesto in full here
Ulster Unionist Party
The Ulster Unionists have a specific section in their manifesto relating to LGBT issues:
We want to build a Northern Ireland that is inclusive and safe for all our people, and that includes the LGB&T community. Our society should have no cold spots for anyone because of their sexual or gender identity. In the next mandate we want to see zero tolerance of hate-crime, tackle the high levels of depression, anxiety, suicidal feelings and self-harm and stamp out homophobic and transphobic bullying in the classroom. We would:
• Bring forward the long awaited Sexual Orientation Strategy;
• Equip our teachers to effectively deal with homophobic and transphobic bullying in our schools;
• Support the toughening of sentences for aggravated crime;
• Support the introduction of a Gender Neutral HPV vaccine;
• Work with local agencies to tackle poor levels of mental health and wellbeing in the LGB&T community;
• Bring restrictions on the donation of MSM blood in line with the rest of the United Kingdom;
• Support age-appropriate sex and relationship education
You can view the UUP manifesto in full here