Letter: Portillo's morality

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The Independent Culture
Sir: In your editorial "Mr Portillo may bring a new public morality" (11 September) you argue that "If somebody wishes to keep their sexuality private, then they should be allowed to do so".

On the same basis, if adults wish to enter into homosexual relationships and be open about it, they should be allowed to do so without fear of prosecution (private gay sex between adults with more than two people "present" is illegal), without fear of persecution (section 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act fosters an atmosphere of homophobia) and without fear of employment discrimination (it is legal to sack someone for being gay or lesbian, and military careers are ended by the revelation). As an elected MP, Michael Portillo voted for inequality in the criminal law, the odious section 28 and for the right to sack soldiers for making the same "honest, open and praiseworthy" announcement that he has just made.

The relevance of Mr Portillo's past lies not in his homosexuality but in his hypocrisy. I agree that "There should be more Portillos and less condemnation," but better still would be complete equality and therefore absolutely no interest.

Mr Portillo may bring a new public morality, but only if MPs like him have the guts to vote for full human rights.

Dr EVAN HARRIS MP

(Lib Dem, Oxford West and Abingdon)

House of Commons

London SW1

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