How does the Liberal Democrats Party Vote on LGBTQ+ Policies?
Updated: Dec 21, 2021
In this Cheat Sheet series, we are looking at how each major UK party and its MPs have voted (or not) on LGBT+ policies, to help you make a more informed voting choice.
This Cheat Sheet will give you an insight into the LGBT+ voting history of some of the most influential Liberal Democrats Party MPs.
Edward Davey (Party Leader, MP for Kingston and Surbiton)
Edward Davey is the current leader for the Liberal Democrats and has been sitting MP for Kingston and Surbiton, formerly Surbiton, for twenty years. He was also the former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change from 2012 to 2015 during the coalition.
As a sitting MP for twenty years, Davey has had the chance to vote on many significant LGBT+ rights and policies. His first vote was in 1998, when he voted for the reduction of the age of consent from eighteen to sixteen for male homosexuality, making the ages of consent for straight and gay relationships equal. He later voted to repeal Section 28 for both Scotland in 2000 and the rest of the UK in 2003.
Davey has an entirely positive track record of voting for Same-sex relationship rights, including no on Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill — Fertility treatment, which required a "male role model". He also voted in favour of allowing same-sex marriage to armed forces personnel. However, Davey has been absent for all relevant votes for Transgender rights, including the 2004 Gender recognition act and the subsequent votes to allow Marriages to remain valid if they become a Same-Sex Marriage.
Daisy Cooper (Deputy Leader, MP for St Albans)
Daisy Cooper is the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats and entered Parliament as MP for St Albans in December 2019. Due to Cooper's short time in parliament, she has not had a chance to vote on any LGBT+ rights or policies. However, she is known for working in Common Wealth affairs, where she campaigned for improved LGBT+ rights abroad.
Tim Farron (Former Party Leader, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale)
Tim Farron has held the parliamentary seat for Westmorland and Lonsdale since 2005 and was the Leader party between 2015-2017 but stepped down as he claimed he was torn between being a faithful Christian and party leader.
Faron's has shown no consistent support for LGBT+ rights. Early on in his Parliamentary career, Farron voted against the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, which put towards parliament to protect people being discriminated against when accessing goods and services. Furthermore, in 2008 he was absent from the Embryology bill votes, which asked whether Fertility treatment should only be for heterosexual couples. However, in 2013, Farron voted for same-sex marriage, and in 2014 further voted for the same rights to be extended to British armed forces personnel based outside the UK. In 2019, Farron did not extend this allegiance to gay couples in Northern Ireland, as he was reported absent for the bill to allow same-sex marriage in the British territory.
Alistair Carmichael (MP for Orkney and Shetland, Liberal Democrats Spoke-person)
Alistair Carmichael has been MP for Orkney and Shetland since 2001. He has held many office roles within the party, including secretary of state for Scotland during the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition.
Due to his extensive period in parliament, Carmichael has been able to vote on many bills regarding LGBT+ rights. He has been consistent in voting for same-sex relationship rights, such as the Adoption and children bill in 2002, allowing same-sex couple's the right to adopt and voted for civil partnerships in 2004. However, like his colleague Davey, he was absent for the Gender recognition bill in 2004, which leaves his support for Transgender rights up for debate.
The remaining 7 Liberal Democrat MPs not mentioned in this cheat sheet have had short careers in parliament, meaning they have not had the opportunity to vote on many LGBT+ rights and policies. Three of these remaining MPs voted in favour of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.
If you want to find out more about the current Liberal Democrat party and their voting records on any topic, plus MPs of other parties, visit the valuable site https://www.theyworkforyou.com/, or follow us for future educational articles and guides on UK Politics. Through these sources and research, hopefully, you can make your own informed choices when voting.
Make sure to read the other Cheat Sheets in this series on the Conservative Party and Labour party, and check out our dedicated LGBTQ+ Rights & Issues section for more resources on this topic.