Letter: Hatred for gays

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Continuing campaigns for homosexual equality need to follow through consistently on what was gained by the Commons vote on 22 June, which was essentially about the legality of physical sex. It affected gay men, exposing the inequality that still exists between them and homosexual women, for whom there is no legal "age of consent". Two ways forward seem clear.

Either there will be, for the first time in English law, a legally enforceable law of lesbian consent. Or there will be no legal constraint on homosexual practice at any age by either gender. The latter might seem to campaigners the more attractive. After all, if it is harmful to criminalise sexual acts by people over 16, how can it be right to criminalise such acts by younger people? And if this is the case with homosexual acts, it can hardly be different for heterosexual acts.

On the day following the Commons vote, the UN published world figures for HIV infection. They showed that, against a background of general increase in the developing world, two African countries had recorded falls in new infections. These were attributed to programmes of sex education emphasising postponement of sexual intercourse and confinement of physical relationships to one partner. What signal, by comparison, has the Westminster Parliament sent out?

RICHARD WILKINS

General Secretary

Association of Christian Teachers

St Albans, Hertfordshire

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