Nick Clegg: “I’m extremely proud to be part of a government that looks to the future of LGBT rights.”

nick clegg pointingIn an interview for Pink News, to mark yesterday’s 10th Anniversary of the repeal of Section 28, Nick Clegg said:

Section 28 was a divisive piece of legislation that should remain consigned to the constitutional graveyard forever. We have made tremendous strides as a country in securing greater LGBT rights since then – not least in securing the landmark legislation to secure equal marriage that I have supported for years.

There is of course further to go, particularly to help put a stop to homophobic bullying in schools. I’m extremely proud to be part of a government that looks to the future of LGBT rights.

Just in case any of our younger readers are not aware of the significance of Section 28  of the Local Government Act 1988, and to remind us all of how awful it was, it is worth repeating that it stated that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.


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  • Stuart Mitchell 19th Nov '13 - 7:21pm

    “it wasn’t until Blair’s second term that [Labour] dared repeal.”

    No, they *dared* to do it during their first term – but twice the House of Lords refused to let it pass. Blame the Tories and bishops for the delay, not Labour.

    We’ve been over all this before :-

    The Lib Dems don’t have a monopoly on caring about LGBT+ equality. Far from it – they weren’t even the most supportive party during the equal marriage votes.

  • Graham Evans 19th Nov '13 - 9:42pm

    It was well into Labour’s first term that they started moves to repeal Section 28, by which time it was too late to use the Parliament Act to overrule the Lords. Moreover, on taking office in 1997 Labour continued to defend the action brought against the UK in the ECHR regarding gays and lesbians serving in the armed forces. Labour only changed the rules once the Government had lost its case in the ECHR. Similarly it took Labour four years to equalise the age of consent. All this when Labour had a massive majority in the Commons, and with few worries on the economic front.

  • Graham Evans 19th Nov '13 - 10:09pm

    I should perhaps have added that in the earlier discussion of this issue Stuart Mitchell justified Labour’s procrastination during its first term on resistance from the forces of conservatism, particularly among the military, but John Reid as Armed Forces minister was reported to fully back the military establishment in their opposition to gays and lesbians serving in the military. Moreover to describe Jack Straw as brave is nonsense. The enthusiasm for the new government in 1997 was so widespread that they could have done almost anything they wished short of abolishing the monarchy.

  • I am entirely happy that Nick is encouraging the LGBT people – and the Hindus at Diwali. But please, we must be seen to be more concerned for the people who are hurting because of sanctions, cuts etc. Is he aware of a rising tide of anger and frustration among them and agencies concerned for them? We must do more to distinguish ourselves from the nasty party. I am sick and tired of being labelled Con-Dem and I increasingly cannot face people who are undeservedly on the sharp end of cuts.

    Paul King, Chesterfield

  • Mr Clegg is inventing history again. Most of the Lib Dems were activists for LGBT Equality before Labour or the inner circle of Lib Dems heard of LGBT Equality. Now it is very modern politics to claim what Mr Clegg claims. Tories will say it was their guiding principle decades ago. Pinch of salt anyone? Two pinches?

  • Stuart Mitchell 20th Nov '13 - 7:12pm

    @Graham Evans
    Your response is yet more rewriting of history. Labour did not equalise the age of consent reluctantly, nor did it take them “four years” despite having a “massive majority in the Commons”. Labour MPs enthusiastically voted through equalisation as early as January 1999, just 21 months after coming to office. Even though they then had to invoke the Parliament Act to force it through, they had still achieved this by November 2000 – well short of four years.

    I’m astonished by your ignorance of just what a monumental move it was for Labour to force this through. This was only the fourth time the Parliament Act had been used this way since World War I, and Labour’s opponents in the Lords, the Tory Party, the media and the faith organisations fought it tooth and nail. That Labour had the guts to do this, just three years after taking over a country in which homophobia was enshrined in the law via section 28, is something only the most churlishly tribal would fail to recognise.

    At least you grudgingly admit that Labour were trying to repeal section 28 during their first term, but still you condemn them for having taken two-and-three-quarter years to get round to it! Funnily enough, it took the coalition almost exactly the same amount of time to introduce the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, so presumably you were outraged by that “delay” too. Given that Labour had just been out of office for 18 years, any reasonable person would think that trying to repeal section 28 and equalising the age of consent within the first three years was pretty good going.

    If the Lib Dems are so obviously taking the lead on LGBT+ equality, home come a larger proportion of Lib Dem MPs voted against equal marriage than did Labour MPs? You can offer as many reinterpretations of history as you like, but the voting records don’t lie.

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