Repeal Section 28 and 2A – Scotland

Repeal Section 28 and 2A – Scotland

When was Section 2A repealed?

Section 2A was repealed by Section 26 of the Ethical Standards in Public Life Act 2000. It was one of the first laws made by the new Scottish Parliament. It was three years before Section 28 was repealed in England and Wales.

 

Who campaigned to repeal Section 2A?

The Equality Network led the campaign in favour of scrapping Section 2A. This is the national organisation for LGBTI rights and equality in Scotland. The Scottish Parent Teacher Council supported the repeal of Section 2A. They saw it as ‘redundant and prejudicial’. Outright Scotland responded to the Scottish Parliaments consultation concluding:

 

‘Scotland has witnessed its first attack on the principle of equality of treatment for all Scots which underpins its new Parliament. Those who oppose repeal of Section 28 have run a deeply unpleasant and potentially damaging campaign. However, as opinion polls show, Scottish people do not want Scotland to be an intolerant country. In the interests of protecting ALL our children Section 28 must be repealed and prejudice and reaction rejected.’    Brian Dempsey Assistant Secretary

 

Who campaigned to keep Section 2A?

In January 2000 Businessman Brian Souter announced he was bankrolling a ‘Keep The Clause’ campaign. His money and resources were used to buy advertisement hoardings, posters, mail-shots and polls. Scotland’s streets and newspapers were covered with homophobic adverts. In the Keep the Clause poll a million Scots opposed repeal of 2A. Most newspapers accepted paid advertising. They printed ‘Keep the Clause’ petitions that asked readers to complete and send to the Scottish Government. 

 

The Catholic authorities also said that the issue was not just about the promotion of homosexuality in schools but the assumption that it is “an equally valid moral alternative choice to marriage”. The Scottish School Board Association, said it was opposed unless there were detailed guidelines for teachers and local authorities. 

 

What happened in the Scottish Parliament?

In September 1999 the Deputy Minister for Communities, made the first public announcement of plans to repeal Section 2A. The Children and Education Minister setup a working party on sex education guidelines and safeguards for parents. 

 

The Ethical Standards (Scotland) Bill, was announced as the means of abolishing Section 2A. A consultation was held on the wider Bill. The majority of respondents commented on the Repeal of Section 2A. Over 80% of responses supported the repeal. 

Opponents continued to insist that marriage should also be included but the bid failed. Communities Minister Wendy Alexander rejected the use of ‘marriage’ in the law because it would suggest ’a moral hierarchy of relationships’. 

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