Rugby and Sandwell ban gays and lesbians
In September the Tory controlled Rugby council decided not to include the term ‘sexual orientation’ in its equal opportunities policy. In subsequent statements the Council’s leader (and others) have made it clear that this means they will discriminate against lesbians & gay men working or wanting to work for the council. They want to ban all gay people from Rugby town Hall - councilor Keith Judge said that ‘by including these words (sexual orientation)we shall give the people of Rugby the idea that this Council welcomes all queers and perverts…” Council leader Gordon Collett stated that “We’re not having men turn up for work in dresses and earrings. Cllr. S Needham declared all homosexuals to be “vile and perverted people”. These comments were followed by a SUN editorial on 28th Sept congratulating Rugby council and dismissing the campaign for lesbian and gay rights as sick nonsense’ and ended with ‘Lets ALL follow Rugby in fighting back’.
Sandwell council jumped on the band-wagon, trying to ban lesbians and gay men from working in so-called ‘caring posts’ following a meeting by the Personnel sub-committee last October, which recommended discrimination ‘where it is justifiable in terms of the job’. At a meeting of the full council on Tues 13th Nov. the recommendation was referred back to the Personne1 sub-committee for further discussion, despite the fact this discriminatory clause would clearly contradict the Council’s equal opportunities employment policy.
Members of the B’ham Lesbian and Gay Community Centre lobbied councillors with leaflets and sat through three hours of the meeting in the public gallery. “Local gay people really must respond to this appalling move by the council, not only for themselves but in order to stop this cancer of discrimination from spreading” added Deirdre, Labour councillors and NALGO officers have slammed the clause as a ‘nightmare decision’
From Women's newspaper for Brum, Feb 1985, reprinted from Lesbian and Gay Community Centre newsletter, Dec/Jan 85