Letter: Labour hesitance over gay rights

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The Independent Online
Sir: I share Peter Tatchell's disappointment that Labour appears to have withdrawn its pledge, made in 1992, to introduce anti-discrimination legislation for the gay community ("Labour gives pledge on age of gay consent", 20 February).

But he is perhaps a little over-zealous in his criticisms. Jack Straw's speech this week is a signal that the shadow front bench is beginning at long last to show steadier nerves on lesbian and gay issues, and is therefore to be welcomed.

If, as we are told, "New Labour" is intent on making only those promises it can and will keep, then it may yet become the party of government that sets rolling the wheel of change on homosexual issues that was loosened, and no more, by the age of consent debate three years ago.

Here's to a ray of cautious optimism.

JOHN JACKSON

London SW16

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