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Westminster correspondent David Porter
"The debate looks like kicking off in England"
 real 28k

Monday, 24 January, 2000, 17:57 GMT
Councils brand Section 28 'unjust'

The executive have plans to repeal Section 28

The body which represents local authorities in Scotland has described the law banning the promotion of homosexuality as an "intrinsically unjust piece of legislation".

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities entered the debate, which has seen the leader of Scotland's Roman Catholics apologise for any offence caused by a speech he recently made in Malta.

Cosla president Norman Murray said of Section 28: "It picks out a particular part of the community as uniquely disfavoured in the eyes of the law and we find ourselves in agreement with the arguments for repeal set out by the Scottish Executive.

'Good and proper education'

"I believe that repeal of Section 28 will help in the fight against homophobic bullying in schools and beyond - good and proper education can only help reduce violence against lesbian and gay people in society as a whole."

Thomas Winning Cardinal Winning: Apologised for any offence
Cardinal Winning's speech was widely reported at the weekend to have likened homosexual activists to Nazis, which rejected as "utterly false",

"The word Nazi does not appear at any point in my address and I believe it would be inappropriate, offensive and fatuous to compare the current debate to what happened in Germany in the war years," he insisted.

Cardinal Winning has been backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr George Carey, who said there must be "adequate safeguards" in schools to protect children.

English backlash

Peers at Westminster will this week begin detailed scrutiny of the legislation in England to abolish the clause.

The Right Reverend James Jones, the Bishop of Liverpool, also supported the Catholic churchman.

In an article for The Daily Telegraph he warned that the government could face a similar backlash from the "silent majority" in England against proposals to repeal Section 28.

He wrote: "As English society becomes more tolerant, it needs to acknowledge that those who give moral and social priority to marriage are not necessarily homophobic.

"It is important to have a debate on sexuality without demonising each other."

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Gay law reform debate

See also:
24 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Section 28 backers lose support
23 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Winning says sorry to gays
22 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Dewar refuses showdown with Souter
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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