Correspondence

New Gaybour

In 1988, the Conservative government passed the Local Government Act. The most controversial part of the Act was Section 28, Subsection 1 stated:

A local authority should not (a) intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality or (b) promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.

Subsection 2 was slightly more conciliatory in tone, saving that "Nothing in Subsection 1 shall be taken to prohibit the doing of anything for the purpose of treating or preventing the spread of disease."

Section 28 was the culmination of a long campaign carried out by pro-family campaigners who had become increasingly concerned about the promotion of homosexuality in schools; even very young children were being exposed to didactic tracts like the infamous Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin. It was one of the best things the Conservatives did in an 18-year incumbency remembered now more for its missed opportunities than for its achievements. Predictably, there was outrage from the usual suspects, but even some moderate homosexuals supported Section 28; they at least could tell the difference between "not promoting" and savagely repressing homosexuality. But a pledge to repeal Section 28 appeared in Labour's 1997 general election manifesto; this clause alone shows...

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