In the good news the UK ‘Supreme Court’ (bah, I am going to have to get out of the habit of calling it the House of Lords) has decided that deporting gay people to countries where we face persecution is a bad idea
Thankfully it overturns the horrific Court of Appeals decisions that gay people can be deported to countries where torture and murder and execution of gays is commonplace (the cases in question concerned men from Cameroon and Iran). And it’s more than a little horrific that gay people were still being deported back to countries that so obviously and openly persecuted homosexuality in the most horrific ways possible.
Remember, asylum is most certainly a gay issue and it has become shamefully apparent that our record on gay asylum is even more pathetic than our record on asylum in general. The vast majority of gay asylum seekers are sent back to their countries – countries that will torture them and kill them far too often. Yet we send them home. 98-99% of asylum claims by gay people are refused – compared to a general refusal rate of 73%
Why? Because of the closet. Because they can hide. Yes, we have adopted a policy that says gay people won’t face persecution so long as they are “discreet”.
Words cannot express how ridiculous and bigoted this is. It is absurd to think that gays aren’t persecuted if they manage to hide their homosexuality – if they remain celibate, if they enter into false marriages, if they watch themselves every second and dropping their guard for a moment would mean their death. We would not apply such a standard on religious persecution, we would not apply such a standard on political persecution – why do we apply it to someone’s inherent being?
This has been overturned. The court did the right thing. In particular I want to stand and cheer Lord Hope for this statement
“The group is defined by the immutable characteristic of the member’s sexual orientation or sexuality.”… “To compel a homosexual person to pretend that his sexuality does not exist or suppress the behaviour by which to manifest itself is to deny him the fundamental right to be who he is.”
Full judgment is here. It is worth a read, in particular it not only strikes down any argument of “discretion” and points out that if a gay person is concealing who we are out of fear of persecution then that concealment is a SIGN of persecution.