Equality Alliance

E.A. News, Monday, 22nd February 1999

EOC RECOMMEND LEGAL PROTECTION FOR LESBIANS AND GAY MEN

      In a wide ranging review and consultation of sex discrimination laws the Equal Opportunities Commission has recommended to Government that there should be legal protection against discrimination for lesbian and gay men. They further urged Government to consult widely and decided the best way to protect lesbians and gay men from discrimination.

[A copy of the Commission's document "Equality in the 21st Century - A new sex equality law for Britain" can be found at their web site http://www.eoc.org.uk.]


THE APPEAL OF TERRY CONNELL WILL BE HEARD ON THE 5TH MARCH

      The Bolton 7 have appealed against the verdicts and sentences handed out in February 1998. Five of the sentences were reduced two weeks ago: but the appeal of Terry Connell has been postponed until 10:30 Friday, 5th March, [Court 8, Court of Appeal, The Strand, WC2]. Supporters will demonstrate outside the court from 10 a.m

      Terry was sentenced to 9 months (suspended for two years), placed on the Sex Offenders' Register, and also charged 500 costs. The Seven, who now all have criminal records, were prosecuted for consenting gay sex in the privacy of their own homes.

      Following the appeal Terry will if necessary take his case to the House of Lords or the European Court of Human Rights, (who ruled in October 1997 that Britain's unequal age of consent is unlawful).

     

[For more information contact: John Hunt, Outrage! E-mail jgh@intonet.co.uk, http://www.OutRage.org.uk/connell99.htm]


HUMANISTS PLEDGE SUPPORT FOR GAY RIGHTS

      Humanists from many countries have pledged their support for lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender rights. A resolution on these rights was carried at the 1999 World Congress of the International Humanist & Ethical Union (IHEU) held in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) India, from 10-14 January 1999.

      The crux of the 2½-page resolution was that "IHEU will jointly with its membership organisations, endorse, defend and promote gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people's interests in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a regular element of their overall endorsement, defence and promotion of human rights".

[The full text of the IHEU resolution can be found on GALHA's website: http://visitweb.com/galha.
For further information contact George Broadhead GAHLA - 01926 858450 e-mail: GALHA@bigfoot.com]


DfEE STATES SECT 28 SERVES NO USEFUL PURPOSE

      In a letter to Leslie Mansell Chair of LAGIM / MSF Trade Union from the Department for Education and Employment, it was stated that "there is no restriction on teaching about lesbian and gay issues in the classroom and it is regrettable that some teachers feel that they cannot approach the topic". It further stated that section 28 "is widely perceived as discriminatory and serves no useful purpose".

      In a recent move Lambeth Council asked schools under their authority to "confirm that they are complying with Sect. 28". Growing opinion including that of senior civil servants and ministers is showing that Section 28 is becoming an obsolete piece of legislation.

      The Equality Alliance has written to Lambeth Council bringing to their attention the advice from the DFEE. If you would like to write to you local education authority advising them on the issue please contact as below for a copy of the letter.

[For further information contact Ian Farmer Action Co-ordinator Tel: 07050 611 902 E-mail: Ian@kapow.demon.co.uk]


RANK OUTSIDERS APPEAL FOR FUNDS

      Rank Outsiders the campaigning and support group for Gays in the Military are appealing for funds to help fight the current cases lodged against the Ministry of Defence for Sexual Harassment. The next hearing is expected on March 1st when the lead cases will be selected. These are the cases that require funding.

      The Equality Alliance is seeking funding from its Trade Union affiliates to assist with this employment issue. Other organisations and individuals are encouraged to donate to the next major LGB campaigning issue. Transsexuals already receive protection under current law.

[For further information contact Terry McFarlane, Treasurer, Tel: 07050 611 902, http://www.rank-outsiders.org.uk/info.
Please send donations made payable to "Equality Alliance" to: Rank Outsiders Appeal, Equality Alliance, P.O. Box 21340, London WC1E 7NE]


GAY HUMANISTS BACK TINKY WINKY

      The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) has defended Tinky Winky following the onslaught on the Teletubby character from US Christian Evangelist Jerry Falwell in the February issue of National Liberty Journal.

      GALHA spokesperson George Broadhead commented: "This attack on a character in a programme aimed at very young children is clear evidence that Falwell's paranoia about gay people has reached ludicrous heights. Unfortunately, his paranoia is shared by many other leading Christians like Pat Robertson, leader of the 2 million strong Christian Coalition which has considerable political clout."

[For further information contact George Broadhead GAHLA - 01926 858450 e-mail: GALHA@bigfoot.com]


BEYOND INCLUSION PUSHES EPISCOPAL CHURCH ON SAME-SEX UNIONS

      The Church must grow beyond inclusion, no longer speaking of "us" and "them." Join Beyond Inclusion April 15-18, 1999 in New York for an exciting, challenging and life-affirming experience. This coming together of the straight and gay communities will resound throughout the Church. Conference papers and workshops will include "Homophobia, Racism, Sexism: A Complex Design," "Seeking Solidarity: The Post-Lambeth Global Church," "The Use of the Bible in Debates about Same-Sex Unions", "Preaching Gay and Lesbian Issues," and "Gay Families, Children and the Church."

[For further information contact: http://www.beyondinclusion.org or call Beyond Inclusion +1-626.583.2740]


INTERNATIONAL ANNUAL 'QUEER EDUCATION' CONFERENCE

      The International Gay and Lesbian Youth Organisation, based in the Netherlands will hold its annual conference on 'queer education' this year.

[For further information contact: iglyo@wxs.nl or Clare Ramsaran, Education Officer, Charter88, 16-24 Underwood Street, London N1 7JQ - Tel: 0171 684 3878 E-mail: clare@charter88.org.uk, http://www.charter88.org.uk]


EQUALITY ALLIANCE CONSULTATION SUBCOMMITTEE

      One of the key areas of work for the Equality Alliance is to build the capacity of its members to engage in the policy debates and decision making processes of institutions and local and national government. The Consultation Subcommittee seeks to develop this role through gathering, digesting, analysing and responding to consultation papers and draft guidelines. Under the direction of the Consultation Co-ordinator, the Executive Committee has designed a consultation process which is accessible, inclusive and flexible. We are now seeking 5 volunteers for the subcommittee. If you would like to find out more about how you can be involved; by being a member of the steering group; by identifying policies and documents that you believe we should consult on; or just by responding to the consultation documents, contact as below.

[For further information contact: Andrew van Doorn Consultation Co-ordinator Tel: 07050 611 904 E-mail: drew@kapow.demon.co.uk.]


VIGIL FOR EQUALITY

      The Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, which aims to equalise the age of consent, is expected to reach the House of Lords in March or April. OutRage! and Stonewall are urging other gay groups and individuals to bring candles to a peaceful, dignified Vigil to support equality at Westminster, from 6-10 p.m. on the night of the Lords vote, when it is announced.

[For more information contact: John Hunt, Outrage! E-mail jgh@intonet.co.uk, http://www.OutRage.org.uk/consent99a.htm]


HOME OFFICE INVITES COMMENTS ON SEX OFFENCES

      The Home Office are inviting comments on Sex Offences in common & statute law in England and Wales & recommendations that will:

  1. Provide coherent and clear sex offences which protect individuals, especially children and the more vulnerable, from abuse and exploitation.
  2. Enable abusers to be appropriately punished.
  3. Be fair and non-discriminatory in accordance with the ECHR & Human Rights Act"

      The review WILL be looking at homosexual offences. The review will NOT be looking at decriminalising prostitution or pornography, at reducing the age of consent below sixteen, or at procedural or evidential issues. As the review progresses there will be a series of conferences and seminars on particular topics to seek an even wider range of views in various regional centres - not just London.

      The Equality Alliance is seeking submissions to the Home Office consultation on behalf of its affiliates and the wider LGBT community.

      Any other groups or organisations should write to:

Su McLean-Tooke,
Sex Offence Review Team, Room 253, Home Office,
50, Queen Anne's Gate, London. SW1H 3AT

or fax 0171-273 2489
or e-mail sex_offences_review.ho@gtnet.gov.uk
by Friday, 19 March 1999.

[For further information or to make a submission contact Andrew van Doorn Consultation Co-ordinator Tel: 07050 611 904 E-mail: drew@kapow.demon.co.uk.]


NORTHERN IRELAND AND EIRE JOIN FORCES

      22 LGBT organisations including two from Eire have formed the first Regional Equality Alliance. The groups have come together to share resources, increase communication and pool their efforts to achieve equality for their communities. It is recognised that N.Ireland is affected by different laws, therefore to ensure a co-ordinated approach into Westminster when necessary EA N. Ireland feed direct into the Executive Committee via their liaison Terry McFarlane, who is based in London.

[For further information contact Terry McFarlane Tel: 07050 611902]


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Last modified: 18-August-2000