In a serious indictment of the horrific authoritarianism of New Labour’s Home Office, the UK Supreme Court has shot down its policy of refusing asylum to gay refugees from countries such as Iran because they could avoid persecution by being ‘discreet’:
Two gay men who said they faced persecution in their home countries have the right to asylum in the UK, the Supreme Court has ruled.
The panel of judges said it had agreed “unanimously” to allow the appeals from the men, from Cameroon and Iran.
They had earlier been refused asylum on the grounds they could hide their sexuality by behaving discreetly.
It was an inhuman policy, which no doubt Alan Johnson will go back on the TV politics shows to defend. And the counter-argument of course is that anyone could pretend they’re gay in order to claim asylum, but of course it’s the job of the UK Border Agency to determine the legitimacy of all asylum claims. Brendan Keenan is right when he says:
Equally important is that while one paragraph makes reference to stereotypes of gay men enjoying Kylie Minogue and “exotically coloured cocktails” (paragraph 78), it does so only to make the broader point that sexuality is a living thing, expressed in infinitely different and individual ways, and that as a result each individual’s case must be treated with the respect and attention it deserves, rather than looking solely at some prescribed categories of behaviour or preconceptions.
And Lord Hope got it equally right however in the ruling, when he said:
“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 his fundamental right to be who he is.
“Homosexuals are as much entitled to freedom of association with others who are of the same sexual orientation as people who are straight.”
The court said it would be passing detailed guidance to the lower courts about how to treat such cases in the future.
We live in a bizarre political landscape when Theresa May thanks the Supreme Court for justifying her Tory Home Office’s liberal position on this.
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