Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell

Prominent UK gay rights activist Peter Tatchell has been denied an invitation to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s annual Downing Street pre-Pride event.

Tatchell claims that he has been snubbed because the Prime Minister is angry about his criticism of the government’s record on gay rights.

“An insider tipped me off that my name had been removed from the invite list, at Gordon Brown’s personal request. He was apparently still angry that I had heckled him over his government’s erosion of civil liberties, when he opened the Taking Liberties exhibition at the British Library late last year,” said Tatchell in a statement.

Tatchell, who has been campaigning for gay rights for over 40 years, was one of the people who helped set up London’s first gay pride in 1972. “I don’t do my human rights work to win awards, honours or invites. It doesn’t matter to me that I haven’t been invited,” he said.

“What angers me is the principle – the way the Prime Minister invites and fetes mostly tame pro-Labour loyalists in the LGBT community. It is a manipulative tactic by an insecure government that knows its record on LGBT human rights is not as glorious as it claims.”

Tatchell has criticised many of the government’s positions on gay rights, including civil unions. He says that the government “supports the ban on same-sex marriage. Civil partnerships are not equality. They are a form of sexual apartheid, with different laws for gay and straight couples.”

“Instead of remedying the remaining issues of homophobic discrimination, Gordon Brown seems more interested in isolating and excluding LGBT voices who continue to insist on full LGBT human rights,” Tatchell said.

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