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    First Published: Before August 2002
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The House of Lords on Thursday afternoon finally voted to repeal Section 28, the hated law that prohibits local authorities in England and Wales from "promoting" homosexuality or gay "pretended family relationships". Passed by the Commons in March there were fears that once again the Lords might try and delay this long overdue reform. Section 28 had already been repealed in Scotland in 2000.

Campaigning group Stonewall hailed the vote as "a triumph for tolerance over prejudice."

Ben Summerskill, Stonewall chief executive, said: "Section 28 was a pernicious piece of legislation deliberately framed in order to stigmatise a minority group. We're delighted that the House of Lords has demonstrated a willingness to listen to reason at last.

"Stonewall has worked long and hard to have this deeply offensive law overturned. Today's vote was a triumph for twenty-first century tolerance over nineteenth century prejudice."

"A noisy minority of politicians have defended this indefensible totem for far too long. I suspect that many voters around the country hope they will now turn their attention to issues such as schools and hospitals"

"We have lobbied harder than ever before during the last month but our arguments have been based entirely on fair treatment for all citizens. We're enormously grateful to all those peers who have supported and encouraged us during those 14-hour days."

"Of course," added Ben Summerskill, "we regret that organisations such as the Christian Institute found it necessary to resort to distortion and scaremongering in their attempts to frustrate this long overdue change in the law."

A Conservative amendment to allow parental vetting of sex education classes was defeated. Sex education in England and Wales has been regulated by the Learning and Skills Act since 2000. The repeal of Section 28 will not change the regulation of sex education in schools in any way.

Commons vote to repeal Section 28

 

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