Friday, 3 October 2014

Dear Dave, Why ECHR matters to me

Dear Prime Minister,

Being a white, Etonian, heterosexual, with a Royal bastard in your ancestry you have probably never suffered from having your Human Rights violated.

However, I am a white, homosexual, Northern Irish man with very working class roots and without European judgements I would probably be locked up right about now. Or trying to stay away from the place I call home.

You see without the European Court homosexuality would still possible be illegal in Northern Ireland. Or quite possible only up until 1997, but by then I would have acted illegally in the interim and so would have had a criminal record for loving someone. You see it was only when Jeff Dugeon's case made it to the European Court that the UK Parliament felt it had to act over the wishes of every Northern Irish MP at the time. At least at the present that is not the case, but we do have a situation where even a simple majority of our MLAs being in favour of advancing LGBT legislation here one mighty party has enough MLAs on its own to lodge a petition of concern and veto that advance.

David will no doubt tell us that we have legal recourse within Northern Ireland and the UK.

However, when the ministers of said party appeal every judgement that a High Court Judge in Northern Ireland makes that speaks in favour of LGBT people we have an issue. Of course some will say we have the Supreme Court of the UK. But they have intimated that they will be wary of making a judgement on a area of legislation that's power has been devolved.

So as a Citizen of the European Union (yeah it says that on my passport) I would like to retain full access to the powers of being in that Union. I don't want a majority Conservative Government making judgements as to what should be in that British Bill of Rights. Looking at recent comments from many about the "awkwardness", "unnecessariness" of same sex marriage, I have doubts if left to their own devices such a Bil of Rights would be fully inclusive all in the LGBT+ spectrum the way that the ECHR is.

I have a feeling that they may well be something akin to the DUP "consciousness clause slipping in there somewhere, allowing people of faith to refuse service to someone that they find in conflict with their faith. Raising freedom of religion away from merely the freedom to practice, observe and be treated fairly into the right to use that freedom to counter other freedoms that also need equal billing. That Bill of Rights may well be an Orwellian "some are more equal than others".

So Dave stop bowing to Nigel Farage and knee jerkingly doing away with some of the good bits of Europe, but start to look at the things that even the most ardent Europhiles say need reform.

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