MORE than just words is needed to support the rights of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community in Wales, a Gwent AM has said.
Monmouth’s Nick Ramsay was speaking during an Assembly debate as part of February’s LGBT History Month on Wednesday.
The Welsh Assembly has been regularly named as among the most LGBT-friendly employers in Wales, but the Conservative AM said such communities should not just be accepted, but celebrated.
“Often we promote diversity and equality across Wales every day rather than properly celebrating it,” he said.
“There is a difference, a bit like the old difference between toleration and acceptance.
“I think we should relish diversity and appreciate our many tribes without the bitterness of tribalism.”
He added politicians of all colours should use their power to do as much as they can not only to promote equal rights but also to legislate on pro-LGBT issues.
“Rights and acceptance are different things,” he said.
“It’s still possible to have either without the other and this may always be the case where rights crash into each other in a secular or multi-religious society.
“Exercisable rights and acceptance can only arrive after understanding and even now, in the LGBT-friendly bubble that we’re lucky to be in, we stumble across our own benign ignorance.”
Ukip South Wales East AM Mark Reckless, who, as Conservative MP for Rochester and Strood, voted in favour of legalising equal marriage in 2013, welcomed moves to increase rights for the LGBT community.
But he warned against condemning people who had previously opposed equality legislation.
“I hope we won’t overly try to condemn previous generations who, on this issue, had a different perspective than we did and, instead, celebrate how quickly things have changed, welcome this motion and we should have Wales as a welcoming place for the LGBT community,” he said.
AMs voted to continue to work to increase equal rights and stamp out discrimination.