State House and Promoters of Gay Rights

By Dr Fred M’membe, President of the Socialist Party Zambia

If the UPND really wants to know who is dealing with the defenders, protectors and promoters of gay rights, they should start with State House.On September 29, 2021 President Hakainde Hichilema hosted an ambassador of gay rights at State House. His name is Mr Tony Blair – a former British prime minister. Mr Hichilema held talks with Mr Blair on the possible collaboration between Zambia and the Tony Blair Institute for global change. Mr Hichilema said the institute is doing commendable work and hopes it can assist Zambia.

Mr Blair said his institute stands ready to help the new dawn administration. Mr Blair has been recognised as one of the top gay icons of the past three decades, along with figures such as Boy George, Sir Ian McKellen and Barbra Streisand. Gay Times said Blair’s status as an ambassador of gay rights was undeniable. Mr Blair, as British prime minister, introduced laws recognising trans people, civil partnerships, banned employers from sacking employees because of who they love and made homophobia a hate crime.

Mr Joe Biden, on May 4, 2012 told NBC’s “Meet the Press” anchor David Gregory: “I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. Who do you love? And will you be loyal to the person you love? And that’s what people are finding out is what all marriages, at their root, are about, whether they’re marriages of lesbians or gay men or heterosexuals.”

This is the President of United States today, the current occupant of the White House. And early in his presidency Mr Hichilema was a guest at the White House – something they were very proud of, were boasting about!

This week Mr Hichilema visited European Union Parliament in Brussels and addressed it. Gay rights in the European Union are protected under the European Union’s (EU) treaties and law. Same-sex sexual activity is legal in all EU states and discrimination in employment has been banned since 2000. The Treaty on European Union, in its last version as updated by the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007 and in force as of 2009, makes the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union legally binding for the member state of the European Union and the European Union itself. In turn, Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union includes an anti-discrimination provision that states that “any discrimination based on any ground such as […] sexual orientation shall be prohibited.”

Furthermore, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides in Articles 10 that the European Union has a positive duty to combat discrimination (among other things) on the grounds of sexual orientation and provides in Article 19 ways for the Council and the European Parliament to actively propose pass legislation to do so. These provisions were enacted by the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999.

In June 2010, the Council of the European Union adopted a non-binding toolkit to promote LGBT people’s human rights. In June 2013, the Council upgraded it to binding LGBTI Guidelines instructing EU diplomats around the world to defend the human rights of LGBTI people. So if one is looking for gays and defenders, protectors and promoters of gay right the starting point should be State House.

And this is the problem with malice, it boomerangs. Bob Marley sang in a reggae rhythm, “Why boasteth thyself, oh evil manPlaying smart and not being clever?

I said you’re working iniquity

To achieve vanity, yeah (if I sow, I sow)…No weak heart shall prosper

And whosoever diggeth a pit

Shall fall in it…”

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