A giant 8′ x 4′ invoice, demanding payment by the New Labour Government, was carried in Saturday’s Gay Pride Parade by members of the gay rights group OutRage!.
The invoice demanded that Labour should “Pay Up Now!” for gay rights legislation promised by the party during the recent election campaign:
- an equal age of consent;
- the repeal of Section 28;
- and an end to the ban on gays in the military.
“Labour won a big slice of the gay vote by making these promises. Now it’s time the government delivered”, said Alastair Williams of OutRage!.
“Since the election, Labour has refused to offer any timetable for gay law reform, and there are signs that the government is backtracking on its preelection commitments. In May, a Labour spokesman told the Daily Telegraph that the party had no commitment to equalise the age of consent. Last month the government confirmed that it would seek to uphold the exclusion of homosexuals from the armed forces when the ban is challenged in the European Court of Justice.
“Much of the gay community complacently assumes there is no need to campaign for gay human rights any more. They seem to think Mr. Blair will take care of everything. But Labour seems to be treating gay rights as a very low priority. There’s a danger that homosexual law reform will get squeezed off Labour’s legislative agenda.
“Labour is refusing to support gay equality measures such as same-sex partnership rights, laws to protect homosexuals against discrimination in employment, gay sex education in schools, and the repeal of victimless, gay-only offences like gross indecency, soliciting, and procuring”, said Mr. Williams.