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‘LGBT+ rights came from Europe, not our Parliament’

Former Stonewall director 'moved' by decision to enter Camden Council into Pride march

17 July, 2019 — By Richard Osley

Angela Mason, right, a former director of Stonewall who is now a Camden councillor

A FORMER director of Stonewall who opposes Brexit has told how she believes many LGBT+ rights had come from the European Union.

Angela Mason, a Labour councillor who serves as the council’s education chief, was hailed for a lifetime of campaigning at Monday’s Town Hall debate on improving life for Camden’s gay, lesbian and transgender residents.

She said she had been “moved” by council leader Georgia Gould’s decision to enter Camden Council into last week’s Pride march through central London, joking that she “was also terribly encouraged by the amount of cross party cruising that I saw going on.”

Turning to challenges for the LGBT+ community, however, she warned that the United Kingdom was turning its back on an institution which had done much to advance the cause for equality by divorcing from Europe.

“I think when we think about lesbian, gay, transgender rights, we have to realise that a lot of those rights didn’t actually come from our parliament, they actually came from Europe,” she told the meeting.“

“We had to go to Europe to get an equal age of consent, we had to go to Europe to get rid of gross indecency criminal gay offences. We had to go to Europe to win the rights of lesbians and gay to serve in the armed forces, and if wasn’t for the Amsterdam treaty and the Employment Equality Directive that arose from that, we wouldn’t have had an Equality Act in 2010.”

Camden Council passed a motion at the same meeting to adopt a position which supports a campaign to remain in Europe.

Cllr Mason  said: “When those on the Brexit side, decry human rights, decry the importance of Europe, I really think twice. We in fact probably owe more to Luxembourg and Strasbourg than we do to Westminster.”

Angela Mason enjoying Pride

After describing herself as “one of the stately homos of England” due to the her long association with the LGBT+ rights movement, she said praised councillors and Town Hall staff for participating in the Pride march. – the first time in Camden’s history that the council, as an institution, has had an official delegation.

“There were one or two other local authorities who were on the march but none of them had their chief executives with them,” she said. “None of them had their senior officers.”

Earlier, Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Flick Rea said it should be put on record that the party’s former MP Lynne Featherstone had been  behind the coalition government’s introduction of same-sex marriages.

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