Since 1997 the UK has achieved an equal age of consent of 16, gays and lesbians can now
legally serve in the British armed forces and same-sex partners have been granted immigration rights.
Labour still haven't scrapped Section 28 anywhere except Scotland, same-sex partnerships remain
unrecognised, the commitment to ban workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is
unrealised and, although reviewed, the Sexual Offences Act remains unreformed. The Government
has also been criticised for leaving the UK’s National HIV Strategy hanging.
However, a Labour government led by Tony Blair remains the only credible option for gay men.
As was widely hoped throughout the gay community, The Labour Party election manifesto does make a
mention the repeal of Section 28.
The manifesto states: "The repeal of Section 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act was grossly
misrepresented as an attempt to use teaching to promote particular lifestyles. We will ensure
that such teaching continues to be prohibited, based on the provisions of the Learning and Skills
Act, while removing discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation."
A spokesperson for Stonewall, the lesbian and gay rights organisation, said: "It could have been
clearer but the manifesto rightly draws a distinction between education and teaching, and the
provisions of Section 28."
Labour`s manifesto also promises to introduce anti-discrimination employment legislation. It says:
"We also need to ensure that the barriers to work are pulled down. Between now and 2006 we will work
closely with business to enact comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in employment, allowing
people to make the most of their talents, whatever their race, sex, age, disability, sexuality or
"Labour believes that Britain can be a model of a multicultural, multiracial
"We need to reduce the barriers - to services, opportunities, institutions - that still
hold people back".
Angela Mason, executive director of Stonewall, said: "This is a manifesto that begins to set in
place an agenda for equality for all citizens, including lesbians and gay men. There is still an
awful lot to do to flesh out Labour`s vision and spell out what changes are needed - particularly
on issues like same-sex partnerships. Labour has the right instincts, but whether it has the courage
to deliver will depend on millions of lesbians and gay men making the case for full equality. The
You can find out more about Labour's manifesto on their website:
OutUK's coverage of election 2001 will continue to update you on aspects of the campaign
that affect gay men. Stonewall are also encouraging us all to vote tactically and you can
find out more about their excellent website using the link below.
We also have more on the other main party manifestos, and the issues contained in them.
OutUK Election 2001
Stonewall's Political Campaign