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Last Updated: Monday, 5 September 2005, 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK
Isle's gay ban 'could be lifted'
The Isle of Man's legal ban on public bodies promoting homosexuality could be scrapped in the new Sexual Offences Amendment Bill.

The change could be included in the bill to equalise the age of consent for same sex couples as for heterosexuals.

John Shimmin MHK, who is in charge of the bill for the Council of Ministers, said the issue was raised during the new law's consultation process.

The bill's consultation is due to end on 30 September.

Public bodies

The Sexual Offences Amendment Bill includes two new criminal offences, designed to protect young people from sexual predators.

It will also equalise the age of consent for heterosexual and homosexual sex in line with the Island's obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Manx Government said there had been a low response in the consultation process but some replies called for the scrapping of Section 38 of the Sexual Offences Act 1992.

The section bans the promotion of homosexuality by public bodies, similar to the Section 28 measures repealed in England and Wales two years ago.

Opinion test

Repealing Section 38 is not part of the draft bill, but Mr Shimmin said since it had now been raised the provision could be included in the bill.

However the government wants to test public opinion on the issue during the current consultation process.

"Repeal of Section 38 is not part of the draft Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill and the Council of Ministers has yet to make a policy decision on the issue," said Mr Shimmin.

"Before that happens it seems reasonable to sound out public opinion on the matter as part of the consultation on the bill.'

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