LGBT+ History: Baron Waheed Alli

In 1998 Waheed Alli becomes the first openly gay member of the House of Lords and one of a few openly gay Muslims. Alli has used his political position to argue for gay rights. He spearheaded the campaign to repeal Section 28 (pdf). He advocated lowering the age of consent for homosexuals from 18 to 16, equal to heterosexuals; this eventually became law as the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 (link). It was during a heated exchange with conservative opponents, led by Baroness Young, that he informed his fellow peers that he was gay. In April 1999, he said in a speech, “I have never been confused about my sexuality. I have been confused about the way I am treated as a result of it. The only confusion lies in the prejudice shown, some of it tonight [i.e. in the House], and much of it enshrined in the law.”

In 2009, he spearheaded an effort to repeal clauses in the Civil Partnership Act 2004 which prohibited religious institutions from conducting the ceremonies on their premises. This campaign culminated in a bipartisan amendment, which became part of the Equality Act 2010

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