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Friday, 21 January, 2000, 07:55 GMT
'Little support' for gay rule repeal

Mail and Record Reports of public opposition and an executive 'gagging order'

Fewer than one in three people in Scotland would support the Scottish Executive's plan to repeal a law banning teaching on homosexuality in schools, according to a poll.

The survey - in Friday's Scottish Daily Mail - came amid a continuing row over Section 28 of the Local Government Act.

Figures suggested 30% of people backed moves to lift the controversial ban. One in two supported the campaign to keep it in place and 20% said they did not know which side they agreed with.

MSPs in chamber 'Pager directives to MSPS'
A total of 1,104 people from a wide range of age groups and social class, across every constituency in Scotland, were questioned about the issue, the newspaper said.

The poll is the latest in a series by the Scottish media suggesting opposition to repeal of the clause.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for First Minister Donald Dewar denied Labour MSPs were gagged on the issue.

It was reported that MSPs received a party 'health warning' on their pagers, telling them to steer clear of the issue.

However, the spokesman said: "The party's business manager paged the MSPs advising them that surveys were dangerous and that if pressed they should say they would wait until the debate and then decide.

Consultation process

"Mr Dewar at no time ordered them, using a pager or otherwise, about replying to questions on this issue.

"What is interesting is that it was only Labour MSPs who were asked their opinions. Why weren't the other parties asked too?"

A Scottish Executive spokeswoman dismissed other newspaper reports which said its consultation process had failed to include school boards.

"There's no substance to that at all," she said. "The executive has consulted over 300 organisations, including churches, gay groups, and teachers.

"We have also, most certainly, consulted the Scottish School Boards Association. Some 85% of respondents have made it clear they are in favour of the repeal of Section 28."

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See also:
20 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Minister's new Section 28 promise
19 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Section 28: Church leaders
19 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Section 28: A parent's view
19 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Section 28: Education Minister Sam Galbraith
19 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Section 28: A gay man's view
19 Jan 00 |  Scotland
PR firm hit by Section 28 'hoax'
20 Jan 00 |  Scotland
When gay became a four-letter word

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