On 14th August, the Tonbridge Courier reported that a homosexual couple were being harassed in Tonbridge town centre. Not only were they verbally abused in a manner that was vitriolic but they had also been spat at.
Their friends rallied round and arranged for a Gay Pride demonstration to support them. Organised at short notice (a week or less) the demonstration attracted a turnout of 170 odd which for a small town like Tonbridge (population approx 36,000 and a high proportion of commuters) is impressive. It was a friendly and happy occasion.
That was the high point – now for the depressing event. A local business man decided he wanted to start a new pro-European Union political party: nothing wrong with that. However, he also expressed a desire to ban homosexuals from membership and to base the party on ‘biblical principles’.
Luckily three of us got letters printed in the local press rejecting his actions and stressing the tolerant Tonbridge
Extract from my own letter below:
“In 2010 the Human Rights and Equality Commission took the BNP to court for clauses in their constitution which prohibited non-whites from joining their party. The Commission won the case and the BNP were forced to rewrite their constitution. They were also forced to remove the clause which stipulated that party applicants should oppose 'any form of integration or assimilation of ... the indigenous British’. So this means Mr. Hayward will not be able to include homophobic policy aims in his proposed constitution, as such discrimination is not permissible for a political party.
Acceptance of diversity is normal behaviour and gross intolerance has no place in our town.”