Equality Alliance



      In an amendment to the Crime & Disorder Bill, MP's voted at Westminster this evening, 22nd June, by 336 votes to 129 (a majority of 207) to set the age of consent for homosexual sex at 16, on a par with heterosexuals. William Hague and Paddy Ashdown were absent.

      After 31 years of discrimination since the partial decriminalisation of gay male sex by the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, the Equality Alliance welcomes this long-overdue milestone, enshrining in U.K. law the principle that lesbians and gay men deserve parity with heterosexuals.

      "The equalisation of the age of consent must now be followed by further legislation to ban antigay discrimination, and to eradicate the long list of statutory provisions which continue to deny equality of treatment and opportunity to lesbians and gay men in this country", said Ian Farmer of the Equality Alliance.

      "The first priority must be to repeal Section 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act, replacing this with the requirement for the National Curriculum to recognise and reflect the equal validity of homosexuality. The urgency for this is demonstrated by suicide statistics, where the disproportionate figure for lesbian and gay teenagers is horrendously high.

      "Other areas where inequalities remain to be redressed are:

This is not an exhaustive list."

      The Vigil outside Westminster, called by the Equality Alliance, attracted a crowd of supporters estimated by police at around 2000; not counting those who were packing the Strangers' Gallery to watch the debate, or those in committee rooms within the Palace made available to Alliance supporters at short notice through the kind intervention of Stonewall.

Age of Consent Vigil: YouthSpeak

      After the vote, Angela Mason of Stonewall agreed with Alliance members that the abolition of Section 28 would be the next priority.

      (Joe Ashton's amendment, which would have introduced an age of consent of 18 where one party was in a position of authority was rejected by 234 votes to 194.)

Age of Consent Vigil: Nuns

For further information contact:

Ian Farmer, PR Coordinator Equality Alliance: 07050-61.19.02
Helen Redwood, Action Coordinator: 07050-61.19.03

Age of Consent Vigil: Equality Alliance + OutRage!

URL: http://www.RoseCottage.me.uk/EqualityAlliance-archives/pr980622AoC.html
Last modified: 24-June-1998