1998 July

Lambeth / Festival Pier

Forty gay rights activists demonstrated tonight, Tuesday, 28th July, between 6 and 7 p.m., as 800 Anglican bishops from the Lambeth Conference arrived at Festival Pier on London’s South Bank to take a boat trip down the Thames.

The demonstrators from OutRage! and other queer rights groups, including the NUS, castigated the bishops over their support for legal discrimination against homosexuals, and demanded a “Queer Reformation” to end church support for antigay discrimination. (During the recent House of Lords vote on the age of consent, Bishops voted two-to-one against equality.)

©1998 John Hunt/OutRage! London
This picture may be copied in the cause of furthering our aims, provided that the source is acknowledged.

Boating Bishops picketed by Mitred Protesters

Forty gay rights activists demonstrated tonight, Tuesday, 28th July, between 6 and 7 p.m., as 800 Anglican bishops from the Lambeth Conference arrived at Festival Pier on London’s South Bank to take a boat trip down the Thames.

The demonstrators from OutRage! and other queer rights groups, including the NUS, castigated the bishops over their support for legal discrimination against homosexuals, and demanded a “Queer Reformation” to end church support for antigay discrimination. (During the recent House of Lords vote on the age of consent, Bishops voted two-to-one against equality.)

A giant billboard was erected by the protesters at the entrance to Festival Pier, emblazoned with the words: “Anglicans! Stop opposing gay human rights!”. Protesters chanted: “Church of hatred, church of fear, stop crucifying queers!”.

Some of the protesters were dressed as bishops, nuns and priests. Two OutRage! ‘bishops’ kissed each other, while a gay male nun from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence sprinkled “homo water” on the bishops from the Lambeth Conference as they arrived, “to cleanse them of the sin of homophobia”.

As Archbishop Carey arrived and hastened onto the waiting “Mayflower Garden”, the protesters redoubled their shouts of “Shame!”. But support was offered by several Conference delegates who smiled and waved approval. The Bishop of Oxford came over to express his support for lesbian and gay equality. The Bishop of Rochester, however, attempted to defend church denial of homosexual human rights, claiming that church morality overrides civil law.

“Dr. Carey and many of his Bishops are acting like the leaders of the Afrikaaner Church in South Africa during apartheid”, said John Hunt of OutRage!. “They are opposing equality and endorsing discrimination.”

As well as opposing an equal age of consent, the Anglican Church also advocates other violations of lesbian and gay human rights. –

“The Church of England Children’s Society is alone amongst the major adoption agencies in denying lesbians and gay men the right to foster deprived children, claiming that we are unfit to care for children”, said Hunt.

“Archbishop Carey supports the denial of legal rights to lesbian and gay couples, which deprives them of recognition as next-of-kin in the event of accident or death.”

FURTHER INFORMATION: Peter Tatchell 020-74.03.17.90
PHOTOS OF PROTEST: Gary Trotter 01628-54.25.54
Rob Todd 0467-42.02.83

House of Lords besieged by Gay Rights Protesters

OutRage! and other queer activists besieged the House of Lords tonight (22nd July), blockading the exits and forcing peers to abandon their attempts to leave the building.

There were scuffles with police as protesters jumped barricades and ran through the gates in a bid get inside the Lords and confront those who had just voted by 289 to 122 against an equal age of consent for gay men, overturning last month’s House of Commons vote of 336 to 129 in favour of equality.

A startled Baroness Young, who led the successful attempt to reinstate a discriminatory gay age of consent of 18, was hustled back inside the Lords by phalanxes of police as OutRage! activists confronted her, shouting: “Shame! Shame! House of hatred! House of fear! Stop persecuting queers”.

Earlier, OutRage! activists and supporters had maintained a four-hour “VIGIL FOR EQUALITY” outside the House of Lords, during with the debate inside. They held aloft pink flags and placards emblazoned with the slogans: “16 for all”, “Queers demand equality”, and “Equalise gay age of consent”.

“OutRage! warned for months that the House of Lords was likely to reject equality”, said Peter Tatchell of OutRage!. “We were ridiculed and dismissed by other gay groups. Their absurd triumphalism after MP’s voted for 16 led to complacency.”

OutRage! is now calling on the Government to challenge the “antidemocratic” House of Lords. –

“The unelected House of Lords has no moral authority or democratic mandate to overturn the two-thirds vote in favour of equality by elected MP’s”, said Tatchell.

“If the Government allows itself to be pushed around by the Lords, we can kiss goodbye to democracy.

“This vote highlights the democratic deficit in our parliamentary system and demonstrates why the Lords should be replaced by an elected and accountable second chamber.

“The Home Secretary should stand up to the Lords by proposing a new amendment to reinstate equality. It would be an act of political cowardice for the Government to appease homophobic peers by ditching the equal age of consent”, said Tatchell.

Carey hides from Gay Rights Protesters

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been accused of cowardice after he was smuggled by minders this morning (Monday, 20th July) into the opening session of the Lambeth Conference at the University of Kent by the back door, to avoid lesbian and gay rights protesters from OutRage! who were peacefully picketing the front entrance. “Carey was too cowardly to face us”, said Marina Cronin of OutRage!.

Immediately after he finished delivering his presidential address, Dr. Carey was hurriedly bundled out of a side fire exit, to escape the OutRage! protesters, who were waiting to challenge him over his opposition to an equal age of consent. They held placards saying: “Carey opposes an equal age of consent”.

The OutRage! protest –against Dr. Carey’s support for continued legal discrimination against lesbians and gay men– was warmly received by many of the 800 delegates arriving at the conference hall. “Apart from homophobic abuse from two bishops who supported the church’s opposition to homosexual human rights, a gratifyingly large number of delegates gave us a warm reception”, said Marina Cronin. “We were greeted with smiles, handshakes, and words of thanks and encouragement. Bishops Harries, Selby and Spong came over and expressed their support”, said Cronin.

Last month, the Archbishop spoke out against the equalisation of the age of consent, and vowed to use his influence to reinstate a discriminatory age of 18 for gay men when the issue is debated in the House of Lords this Wednesday (22nd July).

“By opposing an equal age of consent, Dr. Carey is supporting a discriminatory law that allows 16 and 17 year old gay men to be arrested, dragged to court and jailed for up to two years for consenting homosexual relationships. His attitude is blatant persecution”, said Ray Harvey-Amer of OutRage!.

“We fear that Dr. Carey and the Bishops who sit in the Lords may succeed in overturning the Commons’ vote in favour of equality at 16.”

The age of consent is not the only issue where Dr. Carey endorses discrimination against homosexual men and women. –

“The Archbishop is opposed to lesbian and gay partners being granted legal rights, such as recognition as next-of-kin.

“As President of the Church of England Children’s Society, Dr. Carey endorses its policy of refusing to allov homosexual couples to foster children”, said Harvey-Amer.

FURTHER INFORMATION: Peter Tatchell 020-74.03.17.90
PHOTOS OF PROTEST: Rob Todd 0467-42.02.83
Simon Bebbington (ISF reporter) 0378-30.76.36

Same-Sex Partners in the 2001 Census

Recording of same-sex partnerships in 1991 and 2001 Censuses

Graham Jones,
Director of Census Division,
Office of National Statistics,
Sedgenworth Road,
Tichfield,
Fareham.
PO15 5RR

Dear Mr. Jones,

In the 1991 census, there were questions designed to establish the relationship between members of the household. The design of the form inadvertently allowed same-sex couples to identify their partnership. A significant number of lesbian and gay couples took advantage of this opportunity and indicated in the relevant section on the form that they were living together as partners.

This record of same-sex relationships, which was not intended by the Census Division, was regarded as “anomalous” and the information provided by these couples was “corrected” to erase any record of homosexual partners. The end result was that same-sex lovers who wished to record their partnership were falsely recorded as “unrelated” in the 1991 Census.

I am writing to request your official acknowledgement that these “corrections” to the data took place, and that it was the official policy of the Census Division at that time to expunge any record of same-sex partnerships.

I further wish to seek your reassurance that the 2001 Census form will be designed so that those homosexual couples who wish to record their partnership will be able to do so, and that same-sex partnerships will be included in the final Census statistics.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Tatchell.

cc: Dr. Tim Holt, Head of the Government Statistical Office
Helen Lidell MP