Gay clause defenders say repeal inevitable

A Scottish pressure group opposed to the scrapping of the law banning the promotion of homosexuality in schools yesterday accepted defeat in its battle to retain Section 28.

Members of Keep the Clause, whose high profile campaign was bankrolled by Brian Souter, chairman of transport group Stagecoach, told the Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee that they knew repeal was almost certain to go ahead.

But they stressed that pro-Section 28 campaigners were not homophobic and wanted youngsters to be taught about the benefits of stable, heterosexual relationships most usually found in marriages.

Patrick Rowlink, 36, a salesman and school board member from Airdrie, said it was reasonable for people to support Section 28's retention, or equivalent legally binding guidelines, while at the same time being opposed to homophobia.

The Scottish Executive is committed to repealing Section 2a, better known as Section 28, of the Local Government Act.

Groups backing repeal told the committee that Section 28 was discriminatory, and that the dispute over repeal had led to a surge in calls to gay helplines.

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