‘The Gay vote’ is not a factor which politicians include in their calculations in this country. But, nonetheless, if gays constitute (at a conservative estimate) one in twenty of the population, then we could wield considerable influence to better our position, especially in local elections.
This lesson does not seem to have got across to gay politicos in this country – they seem to prefer negative actions to combat prejudice rather than positive ones such as this.
In Canada, the Gay Alliance Towards Equality (GATE) has been active at all the meetings, rallies and so on in the provincial elections in Vancouver, British Columbia, with a considerable degree of success.
On the 9th August, seven candidates appeared to answer questions in front of an audience of 100 people, including members of GATE. Maurice Flood, GATE’s chairman, asked them: “In view of the fact that leaflets listing gay demands have been given to all the candidates, where do the candidates stand on granting full civil liberties to homosexuals?” The Liberal, Conservative and New Democratic Party candidates all said that they supported equality, whilst the Social credit candidates said: “I support the family; whether you fit into that picture or not is up to you.”
Roedy Green, of GATE, challenged the Social Credit candidate’s claim that his party stood for the protection of minority rights by pointing out that they had not extended the Human Rights legislation to apply to gays.
However the Socred candidate was much more outspoken a fortnight later when faced with further questioning on the subject of gay rights. He said that people who belong to such movements are in a dangerous situation because “one day society will want to castrate the lot of you to stop you reproducing your kind.” He was greeted by prolonged jeering and booing from the audience.
He had been asked if he would end “the involuntary hospitalisation of gays (supposedly) for their own good.” The other candidates had said that they would.
All this has made candidates of all parties aware of the injustices in society towards homosexuals, and has had the whole issue extensively reported in the Vancouver papers. There’s a lesson in that somewhere.