David Cameron, probably likely your next British prime minster, is sending his top gay Nick Herbert, his shadow environmental secretary, to Poland to tell them to start being nicer to the homos. It’s all part of the Tories’ attempt to distance themselves from extremist leaders across Europe, which itself is an attempt to secure gay votes in the upcoming election. At the same time, Cameron is being pressured to oust Julian Lewis, the shadow minister for defense, because he was recently quite vocal about opposing lowering the age of consent for gay sex from 18 to 16 in 200, because of a supposed increased risk of transmitting HIV.
[Lewis] appeared to compare it with the decision to prevent service personnel aged under 18 from fighting on frontlines. Last night, Dr Lewis reiterated his view, telling The Independent that anyone aged 16 to 18 who had unprotected gay sex was “at risk, and potentially at risk of their lives”.
[…] Dr Lewis wrote last week: “There is a seriously increased risk of HIV infection from male homosexual activity. When it comes to legalising practices that involve serious risk, I believe the higher limit should apply. This is the reason we no longer allow 16- and 17-year-olds into frontline situations in the armed forces, for example.”
Dr Lewis, 58, has a history of voting against legislation enshrining gay rights. He opposed adoptions by gay couples and also battled against the repeal of Section 28 – a law enacted by Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government in 1988 to prevent schools from “promoting” homosexuality. Dr Lewis, does, however, back civil partnerships.
“One of the criticisms commonly made of gay relationships is that very often they do not last,” he explained in his letter. “It therefore seems obvious to me that, when a gay couple wish to commit to each other, by forming a permanent relationships, they should be encouraged and assisted in every way.”
All of this comes on the heels of Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, endorsing a bed and breakfast’s right to turn away gays. Man, it’s hard keeping homophobes in line.
(For those unfamiliar, in Britain “shadow secretaries” are the opposition party’s mirror for the leading party’s officials. They are, in some weird ode to the Queen set up we don’t quite fully get, officially recognized, but don’t exactly have much power.)