Local Government Bill [Lords] — Prohibition on promotion of homosexuality: bullying — 5 Jul 2000

As amended in the Standing Committee, further considered.

(b) prevent the headteacher or governing body of a maintained school, or a teacher employed by a maintained school, from taking steps to prevent any form of bullying.'.-- [Mr. Waterson.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Madam Speaker:

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following amendments: No. 7, in page 74, line 2, leave out clause 98.

a proper statement on what should be the role of local authorities.--[ Official Report , 15 December 1987; Vol. 124, c. 990.]

It is not right for pupils to be taught, in any school, that homosexuality is the norm.

I recognise that there may be a need for teachers to touch on the subject of homosexuality in the classroom.

In the Government's view, objective discussion of homosexuality in the classroom, in the way that I suggested a short time ago, would be perfectly proper, because it is not promotion of homosexuality.--[ Official Report , 15 December 1987; Vol. 124, c. 1019.]

I have a view about young people being able to sort out their own ideas in a supportive environment in which they are not subject or vulnerable to bullying because they are unsure about themselves. That is what the measure is about.

The repeal will remove discriminatory and confusing legislation from the statute book.

I think that I am quoting the right hon. Lady fairly. She also said:

People have suffered far too much fear and intimidation . . .--[ Official Report, Standing Committee A , 20 June 2000; c. 541-2.]

we don't have any concrete evidence . . .

My own experience is that there is no evidence that section 28 has had a negative effect on teachers' ability to deal with bullying. No head teacher has raised it with me in all the school visits I have made.

Jointly, we can say to you that bullying goes on in every school . . . whatever its causes, Eastbourne Schools, in common with other institutions, are not prepared to accept it . . . In our experience, there is no single, major root cause of bullying, however, we do work hard through social and moral education to eradicate prejudice.

Matters of bullying are about demanding dignity and respect for the individual as a human right.

If I deal with a pupil who has bullied a boy because he is wearing a turban, there is no suggestion that in doing so I am promoting Sikhism . . . The claim that Section 28 prevents schools from dealing effectively with bullying arising from homophobia says more about a school's policy on bullying than it does about Section 28.

We believe . . . in getting rid of section 28. That is not because we believe it right to promote homosexuality but because we believe it is right for school teachers and others to be able to explain to children properly the facts of life.--[ Official Report , 19 January 2000; Vol. 342, c. 840.]

there has been enormous confusion about how the section applies in schools.

of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship,

This prohibition applies to the activities of local authorities themselves, as distinct from the activities of governing bodies and staff of schools.

A local authority shall not--

(a) intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality.

Try experimenting with other boys and girls and see who you feel most comfortable with.

Try experimenting--

with other boys and girls and see who you feel most comfortable with.

They are just part of life, as common as colds and flu.

Sexually transmitted infections don't just go away, they are not like colds.

Try experimenting with other boys and girls and see who you feel most comfortable with.

local government that listens to what people really want--how they want to be governed and how they want their services to be delivered.

the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.

learning the value of family life, marriage and stable and loving relationships for the nurture of children.

The second is

learning to make choices based on an understanding of difference and with an absence of prejudice.

learning the reasons for delaying sexual activity, the benefits to be gained from such delay, avoidance of unplanned pregnancy.

no-one shall be enslaved by conformity.

The climate was such that homosexuality was a taboo subject and so there was no support system for me to turn to when I was raped at 13 by a "heterosexual" man of 30. When I confided in another

pupil, I was then repeatedly seriously assaulted by gangs of older pupils and no help, guidance or support was offered by the staff. I also felt unable to involve my family, due to the general hostility and ignorance which prevailed in society at that time.

resources which advocate monogamy or marriage as a solution to HIV.

I can never forget as a Jew that homosexuals were sent to Auschwitz just as Jews were. Therefore if our society has become more tolerant that is a good thing. However, the current proposal is based on a fundamental confusion between tolerance and moral

judgment. There is a real danger that the abolition of section 28 will lead to the promotion of a homosexual lifestyle as morally equivalent to marriage.

Our objection is that a small and unrepresentative pressure group appears to have seized control of the government and is attempting to change the law in order to thrust on our children--and on the children of the rest of society--lifestyles and values which most people reject.

seeks to prevent the promotion of a gay lifestyle as a moral equivalent to heterosexual marriage. It recognises that education is a formative experience and has a unique role in the development of not just individual pupils but of society as a whole.

Governments, both Conservative and New Labour, put the family at the heart of a stable society. Section 28 is the logical out-working of that policy in the education system.

I do have a little knowledge of the subject.

a lifelong supporter of the Labour party . . . a parent, a doctor and a Christian.

I have seen a variety of leaflets and promotional literature originating from gay rights groups, some of which are in receipt of grants from their local authorities, which have already been issued to schools despite the existence of Section 28 as it stands at present. This material not only encourages children very frankly to experiment with a homosexual lifestyle to "determine their sexual orientation" at a time when they are very vulnerable and impressionable.

Repeal would open the door, not just to the very proper factual and unbiased teaching about homosexuality which should form part of a sex education programme, but to this very overt encouragement--

More importantly still, has the likelihood of this access to children being used by covert paedophiles been fully thought through? I ask this as someone who has spent time working in prison with sex offenders. Surely we would all wish to protect our children from this kind of risk?

I doubt very much whether adequate procedures to prevent such exploitation could ever be guaranteed.

We should be very wary of using public funds to promote any kind of ideology, whatever its origin, but especially one where the targeted group is so young and vulnerable.

Motion and clause, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment proposed: No. 7, in page 74, line 2, leave out clause 98.-- [Mr. Waterson.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:--

The House divided: Ayes 133, Noes 305.

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Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Con0 124 (+2 tell)078.8%
Lab269 (+2 tell) 3065.9%
LDem34 2076.6%
PC2 0050.0%
UUP0 4044.4%
Total:305 133069.5%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

Joe BentonBootleLabaye
Mr Denzil DaviesLlanelliLabaye
Geraldine SmithMorecambe and LunesdaleLabaye
Colin BreedSouth East CornwallLDemaye
Mr John BurnettTorridge and West DevonLDemaye

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