Wales: A new event on the campaign trail - Mardi Gras Question Time

Where: The Banking Hall, 113 Bute Street, Cardiff
When: 6pm, 13th March 2007

On Tuesday (13th March), politicians from all four main parties in Wales will quizzed by the Lesbian, Gay and Transgender Community in Wales.

The event, which takes place in the Banking Hall, Bute Street, Cardiff, is the first of its kind in Wales. To be chaired by ITV Wales Political Correspondent, Nick Speed, it will give members of the gay community the opportunity to ask their representatives why they should vote, and which party best represents them.
The Conservatives’ Jonathan Morgan, Jenny Randerson from the Liberal Democrats, Leanne Woods for Plaid Cymru and Sophie Howe for Labour will face questions about a range of topics including homophobic bullying, discrimination in the work place and hate crimes.

Since the last Assembly elections, lesbian & gay voters have been granted the right to confirm their commitment to their partners through civil partnerships. More recently, lesbians and gay men have won the right not to be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. The Goods & Services legislation drew a great deal of media attention when the bill came before parliament and this may be an issue up for discussion.

Although great strides have been made in Wales to reduce discrimination, it is still important to remember that a third of all lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Wales have suffered some form of violence or bullying because of their sexuality.

Adam Rees, Co-Chair of Cardiff-Wales Lesbian and Gay Mardi Gras said:

“There are, of course, still many areas where equality has not yet been achieved, and where discrimination and bullying can still occur. With so many changes in recent years we are keen to explore where the parties stand on these issues and why it is important that lesbian and gay people vote in the Welsh Assembly election.”

“Mardi Gras is not just about the biggest party in Wales, its also reaching out to the policy makers and having a dialogue about how we can work together. This is the first time, but hopefully not the last time, that we hold such an event.”

Amnesty International's Director for Wales, Cathy Owens said:

“With crackdowns on gay rights campaigners across Europe, we can’t be complacent about what has been achieved here. We need to ensure all parties continue to vet their policies for discrimination, and talk to the LGBT community to learn more about they discrimination and hate crime that still occurs in Wales.”

Matthew Batten, Policy & Public Affairs Officer at Stonewall Cymru said

“Mardi Gras Question Time is a good opportunity to question the four main political parties on their commitment to lesbian and gay issues. We urge the lesbian and gay population of Wales to use their vote wisely and think carefully about who has supported or opposed gay equality.”

The event takes place at 6.00pm on 13 March in the banking hall of the Old Nat West Bank building at 113-116 Bute Street, Mermaid Quay, CF10 5EQ. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

To reserve a place, e-mail info@cardiffmardigras.co.uk or phone 029 2046 1564 to reserve your place.

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