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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

More equal than others

There is much speculation at the moment as to exactly how committed Ruth Kelly is, as the new Equalities Minister, to ...er.....equality. As a a member of Opus Dei, a conservative religious organisation which takes a hardline stance on homosexuality, Ms Kelly is obliged to bring her moral and religious beliefs to work.

Indeed as Peter Tatchell, has pointed out she has been absent from 12 votes on legislation promoting gay rights since 1997, including the introduction of civil partnerships and an equal age of consent.

Ruth Kelly herself is keen to rebut these notions:

On her first visit in her new role, to Shoreditch, east London, Ms Kelly said: "Personally I don't think you can find someone more committed to making sure everyone shares in opportunities - economic opportunities but also social opportunities that we are providing as the government.

"That includes every individual and every group. No matter what their background, where they come from, no matter what their sexual orientation, their faith or their gender ... I don't think you can really doubt my commitment on these issues."

I believe that she has the right to her own opinions but it would be good if firstly, she actually told us what they are, and secondly, she stopped pretending that equality is solely about social and economic opportunities but recognised that there is a personal context on which she is required to act as well, which cannot be glossed over by these sort of meaningless generalisations. Until she does that then we are absolutely entitled to doubt her commitment to equality on matters of sexual preference.
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