LGBT+ History: Section 28 repealed

In 2003, Section 28 is finally repealed in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, lifting the ban on local authorities from ‘the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality’.  The repeal was made legal on 28th November, after the Local Government Bill received Royal Assent.

Section 28, or Clause 28 was originally brought into law in 1988, and although this was not a criminal offence, so no prosecutions were ever brought, many LGBT+ support groups closed or limited their activities for fear of breaking the act.  The act required that local authorities did not spent money promoting homosexuality, but in reality, many schools and colleges understood it to mean that they were unable to discuss or talk about homosexuality with pupils and students.

In response to the repeal Kent County Council decided to create their own version of Section 28 to keep the effect of the now repealed law in their schools. Their original policy stated that: “the council shall not publish, purchase or distribute to children inappropriate material for any sex education, including the intentional promotion of homosexuality” LGBT+ support services raised concerns with Kent County Council, and received a letter in response, which you can read here: https://issuu.com/queeryouth/docs/kent_section_28_letter

The council revised their statement, and it was replaced on 16 December 2004 with provisions stating that: “We will ensure that sex education values family and marriage as the foundation of a civilised society, and a firm basis for the nurturing of children”  Campaigners celebrated the victory, but were wary of the inclusion of ‘marriage as the foundation of a civilised society; as equal marriage was not yet law.  You can read their press release here: https://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/01/303498.html

 

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