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Not Good Enough


This article from '' published in April 1994 echo's the gay community's anger at the 1994 age of consent vote, in which the legal age of consent for gay males was lowered to 18, and not 16 as equality campaigners had fought for.


The unanimous verdict of gay rights campaigners after the House of Commons voted to reduce the age of consent for gay men to 18 was NOT GOOD ENOUGH!
Special venom was reserved for the Labour MPs - 38 of them - who did not support equality for gay men by voting against an age of consent at 16. If these MPs, who included frontbenchers Anne Taylor and David Blunkett, had supported their own party policy the vote for 16 would have been won easily.
Among the Labour MPs who did not support equality for gay men was Birmingham MP Jeff Rooker (see below).
A spokesperson for the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights (West Midlands) said, "These people have shown that they are not only bigots but deeply hypocritical as well. At least no-one ever expected Jill Knight (Tory MP for Edgbaston) to vote for 16 but we thought we could rely on the support of the Shadow Cabinet at least."
The vote makes a mockery of the Labour Party's justification not to put a three line whip on its MPs for the vote - something which, believe some political activists in Birmingham, would have been the case had the vote been about race or gender.
A meeting of the Coalition after the vote agreed to encourage Stonewall, Outrage and other activist groups to call a national rally to decide on future campaign direction.
Some local members believe that the campaign, even though disappointing in its result, has revived political awareness among many lesbians and gay men especially those under 21.
There is a fear that this new-found enthusiasm will be lost if the national groups do not act quickly to harness the energy generated over the last few months.


As outspoken went to press, the Government announced that it was accepting a Liberal Democrat amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill decriminalising homosexuality in the armed forces.
Anya Palmer of Stonewall said, "It's good news and about time but it's only half-way there. Now we must get on and campaign for a complete removal of the ban."
The amendment means that members of the armed forces will no longer face criminal charges arising from their homosexuality but will still face dismissal.
Local activists described it as "similar to the Church of England position - it's OK to be gay or lesbian as long as you don't do anything about it".

Contributed by: Outspoken

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