Tatchell urges gay rights probe

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The Independent Online
OUTRAGE, the gay rights group, is stepping up its pressure for a Commons select committee investigation into discrimination against gays and lesbians, writes Anthony Bevins, Political Editor.

Peter Tatchell, the OutRage campaigner, said yesterday that he had received the support of Mike O'Brien, the Home Office minister, for a reference to the Home Affairs Select Committee.

"An investigation ... could help revive the stalled campaign for lesbian and gay human rights. It would be the most significant report on homosexual issues since the 1957 Wolfenden Report," Mr Tatchell said in a statement.

In a letter sent this month to Chris Mullin, Labour chairman of the select committee, Mr Tatchell said he had made three requests for an investigation over the last eight years; something routinely rejected by the Tory administration.

"We are aware that the select committee has produced three reports on race issues over the last decade, but had not once investigated the equally serious issue of legal discrimination against lesbians and gay men.

"We are, for example, denied the right to marry and to any alternative legal recognition of our partnerships, banned from membership of the armed forces, penalised by insurance and mortgage companies, turned down for consideration by many fostering and adoption agencies, discriminated against in pension and inheritance rules."