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28 had already been repealed in Scotland in 2000.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
"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