Amendments to outlaw discrimination against gay people and people with HIV are being proposed by OutRage!
The proposed amendments are to the Human Rights Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.
"If amended to include an explicit ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation, this Bill would do more for gay equality than any other single legislative reform", said John Hunt of OutRage!.
"It would enable many different forms of homophobic discrimination to be overturned in the British courts. The gay-only offence of gross indecency, for example, would be declared illegal", added Hunt.
OutRage! is extremely concerned that few lesbian and gay organisations seem to realise the huge potential benefits that would result from a successful amendment of the Human Rights Bill.
"We plan to get a backbench MP to table an amendment, hopefully with Government support", said Hunt. "But most other gay groups, including Stonewall, seem to be doing very little. We would appreciate their support."
The Human Rights Bill incorporates the European Covention on Human Rights (ECHR) into UK law. It will enable violations of the Convention to be overturned in the British courts, without the need for lengthy and expensive appeals to the ECHR in Strasbourg.
"The European Convention does not explicitly prohibit discrimination
based on sexual orientation or medical status.
This means that the incorporation of the Convention into UK law
may not be sufficient to protect lesbians, gay men, and people with HIV
against unequal treatment.
"It all depends on how judges choose to interpret the
Convention's crucial anti-discrimination clause, Article 14.
In the past, they have decided that Article 14 does not outlaw
discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation
"It all depends on how judges choose to interpret the Convention's crucial anti-discrimination clause, Article 14. In the past, they have decided that Article 14 does not outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation", noted John Hunt.
A copy of the Human Rights Bill amendment follows.
Further Information: PETER TATCHELL, Tel. (+44)-171 403 1790
YouthSpeak is also campaigning to include a specific reference to lesbian and gay equality in the Bill, and fighting off amendments from the House of Lords which say that the churches should be excluded from legislation, in case they are forced to support gay marriage and ordain gay priests.
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