Vigil for Equality — 22nd June, 6-10 p.m., Westminster

16 is just a start! Scrap all antigay laws!

“Vigil for Equality” as MP’s vote on age of consent

As MP’s vote on equalising the gay age of consent next Monday, 22nd June, lesbian and gay rights supporters will hold a mass “Vigil for Equality” outside the House of Commons, from 6 – 10 p.m., calling for the repeal of all laws that discriminate against homosexual men and women.

OutRage! is urging its friends and supporters to join Monday’s Vigil, to highlight our agenda for full human rights, (see below).

Organised by the new Equality Alliance –a coalition of over 100 gay rights groups, including OutRage!– the Vigil’s theme is: “16 is not enough! Scrap ALL antigay laws!”.

“Winning an equal age of consent will be an important advance”, said John Hunt of OutRage!. “But it will still leave many other homophobic laws unchanged.

“We won’t be content merely with an equal age of consent. ALL antigay laws must go. We will not settle for anything less than TOTAL EQUALITY.

“Many MP’s think we will be content if they just equalise the age of consent. That is most assuredly not the case. We won’t be satisfied until every discriminatory law is abolished. It is vital the lesbian and gay community tells Parliament that one reform is not enough. Equality at 16 has got to be the first step in a rolling programme of homosexual law reform”, said Hunt.

To this end, on the night of the vote, OutRage! will be highlighting six key civil rights demands:

  1. the repeal of ALL discriminatory sexual offences
    — buggery, gross indecency, soliciting and procuring–
    including the laws against gay cruising, and gay sex involving more than two men;
  2. legal recognition of same-sex relationships
    via an Unmarried Partners’ Act giving new rights to all unwed couples — both gay and straight;
  3. the outlawing of discrimination based on sexual orientation or HIV status,
    by means of an Equal Rights Act guaranteeing protection against discrimination to everyone;
  4. replacement of Section 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act by new laws requiring all schools to combat homophobic bullying and to provide honest, nonjudgemental information about homosexuality and gay safer sex;
  5. an end to the ban on homosexuals in the armed forces;
  6. equal parenting rights for gay and lesbian people,
    including equality in child custody orders, fostering, adoption, and access to donor insemination services.