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The Labour Leadership Candidates: Their LGBT credentials

2015-06-16
ANDY BURNHAM 11148521_809217732506608_6981032591093697203_o Credentials MP for Leigh since 2001. Under Gordon Brown he served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and Secretary of State for Health. He has since served as Shadow Secretary of State for Education, and Shadow Secretary of State for Health. The Lowdown An experienced politician, Burnham has strong support in the north, representing a Manchester constituency, and hailing from Liverpool - where he fought for an inquiry into the Hillsborough disaster. He has also called for a more autonomous Wales. Like Ed Miliband - who beat him to the leadership in 2010 - he is a favourite among the influential trade unions. Voting record on LGBT rights Burnham has a good record, having voted for the abolition of Section 28, and the introduction of civil partnerships, the Equality Act and equal marriage. Burnham was absent for votes on adoption in May 2002, which he has attributed to the birth of one of his children. He voted for bills in 2008 which proposed that 'fertility treatment requires father and mother' and 'fertility treatment requires male role model'. In his own words... Speaking to PinkNews in August 2010, during his first run for the leadership, Burnham explained his voting record. "Everyone should be able to draw on a father figure and a mother figure. That isn’t to say I don’t support IVF for lesbian couples.” He also said that as a Catholic, he has found the balance between gay rights and religious rights "a difficult question." Following Ireland's referendum on same-sex marriage, Burnham wrote in the Daily Mirror that he wanted to see the Catholic church defend “the innate equality in law of every human being”, and called Pope Francis, "the right man to seize this moment and, taking his cue from his flock in Ireland, bring the Church into the 21st century.” Bookies Odds: 5/6   YVETTE COOPER 11053418_821667864555358_1306295557085542337_n Credentials MP for Pontefract and Castleford 1997-2010 and MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford since 2010. She has served in the Cabinet under Gordon Brown as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. She has since served as Shadow Foreign Secretary and Shadow Home Secretary. The Lowdown Cooper didn't run for the leadership in 2010 in favour of her husband Ed Balls, who lost his seat in this year's general election. Another seasoned cabinet minister, who has handled many portfolios, she has a strong background in economics. She has warned against the party lurching to the left or the right and says the leadership campaign "needs to be about the future of the country not just the past of our party if we are to win again". Voting record on LGBT rights Cooper has voted strongly in favour of gay rights, through abolishing Section 28, and allowing adoption, civil partnerships, the Equality Act and equal marriage. In her own words... In April 2013, Cooper spoke at the Stonewall Workplace Conference and called on British businesses to do more to celebrate diversity and not merely to "tolerate" LGBT staff. Speaking to PinkNews in June 2013, Cooper said "there is still huge mental health problems among particularly young gay men" and that she supported a stronger line on LGBT bullying and more inclusive LGBT sex education as a way forward. In March 2015 she said Labour would look at introducing gender neutral passports. Bookies Odds: 3/1   LIZ KENDALL 1911296_1636242656604786_7223460024324975565_o Credentials MP for Leicester West since 2010. She has served as Shadow Minister for Care and Old People. The Lowdown The youngest of all the candidates, Kendall is positioning herself as a future thinking voice for Labour, who - rather than debating this election on the topics of 2015 - wants to plan long term for the UK of 2020. She was born in Watford, which she says is representative of the kind of seat Labour needs to win back. She has been backed by Tristram Hunt, and Chuka Umunna after he pulled out of the contest. Voting record on LGBT rights Kendall has voted strongly in favour of equal gay rights, with the equal marriage bill of 2013 being the major piece of LGBT legislation during her time in parliament. In her own words... In May 2015, Kendall wrote for Gay Star News, congratulating Ireland on the referendum, and advocating for LGBTI equality worldwide, saying that a "burning passion to champion equality and tackle injustice will be at the heart of the Labour Party I lead." Bookies Odds: 5/2   JEREMY CORBYN jeremycorbyn Credentials MP for Islington North since 1983. The Lowdown A socialist with a strong anti-austerity message, Corbyn is the most left wing of the candidates, as evidenced by the national and international campaigns he has fought for over his 30 years in politics. He told Channel 4 news that many of his backers signed his nomination papers to ensure his voice and policies were heard as part of the larger debate on the future direction of the party. Voting record on LGBT rights Corbyn has a strong record, having consistently voted in favour of equal gay rights from reducing the age of consent, abolishing Section 28, adoption, civil partnerships, the Equality Act and equal marriage. In his own words... Speaking to the Islington Gazette in March 2015, Corbyn said, "I voted in support of equal marriage and I’m pleased that we live in a society in which this has become law, allowing people to openly express their love for each other." Bookies Odds: 16/1