Equality Alliance

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

GAY HUMANISTS' SUBMISSION ON SEX OFFENCES REVIEW

      The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) has been making submissions to government bodies on gay issues since its inception twenty years ago and its latest is to the Home Office Sex Offences Review Team.

      In its submission, GALHA points out that a pluralistic, democratic society should not attempt to impose any particular religious or other moral codes on its citizens as a whole: "The common law offences of conspiracy to corrupt public morals and to outrage public decency should be abolished. Terms such as 'immoral', 'unnatural', or 'indecent' have no place in the legal codes of a modern society and should be deleted from both statute and common law."

[For more information contact: GALHA@bigfoot.com, http://visitweb.com/galha]


BANK OF SCOTLAND DEMO GREAT SUCCESS

      The Demo on Friday outside the Bank HQ was a great success, with about 150 people there from all sorts of groups. Speakers included Janey Buchan, former Labour MEP for Glasgow and President of Outright Scotland, Bill Scott of Lothian Anti-Poverty Alliance, Tracy Gilbert of UNISON, Edinburgh University Chaplain Iain Whyte, EU Students Association President John Fellows and NUS Scotland Vice President Rachel Cashman.

      Finally, a politician has spoken out on the issue. Keith Geddes, leader of Edinburgh City Council and President of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, and one of Labour's "Cabinet in waiting" for the Scottish Parliament, issued a press release on Friday, supporting the demo. It called on all Scottish political parties to join together to persuade the BoS to find a different partner to expand into the US.

      Media coverage was good including BBC radio Good Morning Scotland, BBC TV Scottish news, 10 minute slot on 7 Days, Scottish TV's Sunday lunchtime review of the week. Newspaper coverage included Scotsman, Herald and Daily Record. Tim Hopkins spoke on R5 Out This Week

[For further information contact: Tim Hopkins, Equality Network, 58a Broughton St, Edinburgh, EH1 3SA
Tel: 07020-933 952, Fax: 07020-933 954, e-mail: tmh@dcs.ed.ac.uk, http://www.diversity.org.uk/equality/rob-bank.html]


BANK OF SCOTLAND REPLIES

      The Bank have become more defensive. They are no longer trying to defend Robertson's views as they did the first week. They still refuse to speak directly to the press, but issued a statement on Friday saying that Robertson's views are not representative of the BoS or the new banking venture. The statement claimed that the new subsidiary will be legally separate from the BoS and no existing customers' money would be involved in the new bank.

      This last claim is absurd. The BoS is a partner in the new bank because they have the expertise, expertise built up and paid for with the profits made from existing customers. Monies paid them over the years is being directly invested in setting up this new "bank for the religious right". If the BoS were not putting anything into the new bank, Robertson would set it up by himself.

      Robertson himself was asked about the deal at a press conference in Washington on Thursday, held to launch the "Christian Coalition" voter mobilisation programme. He said, "Over in England [sic], they went ballistic among some of the people but it turned out it was a particular minute section of the population that I won't go into just now. The Bank of Scotland is very pleased."

      In other words, the BoS told me it's just some homosexuals making a fuss and so we can ignore them.

      Tim Hopkins said: "If that's what the BoS still thinks, then they are in for a shock!"

[For further information contact: Tim Hopkins, Equality Network, 58a Broughton St, Edinburgh, EH1 3SA
Tel: 07020-933 952, Fax: 07020-933 954, e-mail: tmh@dcs.ed.ac.uk, http://www.diversity.org.uk/equality/rob-bank.html]


BANK OF SCOTLAND PRESSURE GROUP FORMED

(This release has been extended by the EA News Team beyond the recommended 8-line criterion.)

      If this new bank is set up, it will give very important credibility and support to the religious right, a powerful movement that is working towards fundamentalist Christian domination of US politics, an end to gender equality, and of course an end to civil rights for LGBT people. There are currently over 50 million born-again Christians in the US, and every year the "Christian Coalition" trains 50,000 people to go directly into US politics and to promote their far right agenda. And of course, the religious right is growing here too, with support from the US.

      The new bank is not yet set up. We need to keep the pressure on the BoS so that they realise how big a mistake they have made, and pull out. 70 people signed up at Friday's demo to take the campaign forward under the provisional name Bank of Scotland Pressure Group. Here's what we thought we can do - if you've got any other ideas for pressurising the Bank, please suggest them!

[For further information contact: Tim Hopkins, Equality Network, 58a Broughton St, Edinburgh, EH1 3SA
Tel: 07020-933 952, Fax: 07020-933 954, e-mail: tmh@dcs.ed.ac.uk, http://www.diversity.org.uk/equality/rob-bank.html]


TEACHER SUES SCHOOL OVER HARASSMENT

      A British lesbian is suing school administrators who thought that with enough counselling she should be able to grit and bear students' ongoing harassment.

      A lesbian teacher in Britain has filed a sex discrimination complaint against her school for failing to prevent students' homophobic taunts, which forced her to retire on grounds of ill health. Shirley Pearce, 51, taught science at the Mayfield Secondary School in Portsmouth beginning in 1975, experiencing intense anti-lesbian verbal abuse from students for the last six years before her May 1996 retirement. Her case is currently being heard by an employment tribunal in Southampton.

[News courtesy of Planet News http://www.planetout.com]


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Last modified: 22-March-1999