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Armed Forces (Gay People)

Volume 559: debated on Monday 25 February 2013

A wide range of support is available to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the armed forces, including LGBT forums and an employee network site, Proud2Serve, which provides them with a key communication tool. In addition, all members of the armed forces are supported by a network of equality and diversity advisers, who are trained to provide support on a range of equality and diversity issues.

At the turn of the millennium, the previous Labour Government ended the ban on homosexual men, lesbians and transgender personnel serving in our armed forces. Given that only one of the Minister’s Defence colleagues voted in favour of equal marriage, can he explain what message he thinks that sends about this Government’s commitment to equality in our armed forces?

I remind the hon. Gentleman that that was a free vote. With regard to the other issue he raised, we intend to introduce an option for members of the armed forces to record their sexual orientation on our joint personnel administration system if they so wish. I take it that that is a change he would welcome. In the meantime, we have expanded our recruit trainee survey to give personnel the option of providing their sexual orientation if they wish to do so.