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Anne Allan, Church of Scotland
"I don't believe the executive can give us the assurances we need"
 real 28k

Education minister Sam Galbraith
"My job is to reassure people against the scare stories"
 real 28k

BBC's Rupert Carey reports
"A counter campaign is being launched"
 real 28k

BBC Scotland's education correspondent Ken Macdonald
"Teachers will generally be glad to see this go - it's regarded as a redundant piece of legislation"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 19 January, 2000, 09:41 GMT
Church splits over anti-gay law

Brian Souter graphic Businessman Brian Souter is backing the campaign to keep the law


The Church of Scotland appears to be split over whether a controversial anti-gay law preventing the promotion of homosexuality in schools should stay or go.

Leading churchwoman Anne Allan says she wants Section 28 to remain - a view at odds with General Assembly Moderator, the Reverend John Cairns, who believes it needs to be abolished.

The row surfaced on Wednesday - the day both sides of the debate launch their respective campaigns over Scottish Executive plans to do away with the law drawn up by the Tories in 1988.



People feel they are being presented with a fait accompli and there has been no opportunity to take part in an informed debate
Anne Allan, Church of Scotland
Ms Allan, chair of the Church of Scotland's influential social responsibility committee, told BBC Radio Scotland: "At the moment no one can go into a classroom and promote homosexuality and encourage children to explore homosexual practices or divert them to homosexual lobby groups.

"There are clear guidelines and there is no prevention of the counselling of individuals over the issue of homosexuality.

"I don't believe the executive can give us the assurances we need if the law is repealed."

She added: "I think people feel very strongly. People feel they are being presented with a fait accompli and there has been no opportunity to take part in an informed debate."

Gays holding hands The law prevents the promotion of homosexuality
Those views appear to run contrary to the beliefs of Rev Cairns who said on Wednesday that children needed guidance about the world as it really is - and that includes homosexuality.

However, Ms Allan denied her opinion compared with that of the moderator amounted to a church split.

She said: "The church is broad enough to have a variety of opinions expressed. I have speak for myself and for my board and I speak as an individual as John cairns has spoken as an individual."



It is a redundant piece of legislation and simply re-enforces prejudice
Sam Galbraith, Education Minister
Education Minister Sam Galbraith entered the debate on Wednesday when he called for the scare stories to stop.

He said: "My job is to reassure people against the scare stories.

"The legislation simply bans the promotion of homosexuality - just because we take that away it doesn't mean that there will be a promotion of it.

"At present this law prevents teachers from dealing sensitively with such matters.

"It is a redundant piece of legislation and simply re-enforces prejudice."

Sam Galbraith Sam Galbraith: "Stop scare stories"
The Scottish School Boards Association fired the first salvo on Wednesday when it claimed it will produce a government document from 1988 which says that Section 28 does not prevent teachers from discussing homosexuality.

A spokesman for transport millionaire Brian Souter, who has pledged money to the SSBA to help fund a campaign against the scrapping, has predicted this document will "blow holes" in the executive's justification for scrapping the legislation.

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Section 28: your questions answered.

See also:
18 Jan 00 |  Scotland
'Public backing' for anti-gay law repeal
15 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Caution over gay law cash offer
14 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Boycott call in Stagecoach 'anti-gay' row
17 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Cardinal fires Section 28 broadside

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