Tim CtuiRctiuS in England and Wales have been accused of "complete surrender" over the repeal of a law which prohibits the promotion of homosexuality, writes Simon Caldwell.
The Christian Institute, a public policy think-tank, has attacked the efforts of Anglican Bishop Alan Chesters of Blackburn and the Catholic Education Service to reach a deal with New Labour over the repeal of Section 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act.
The bishop's amendment proposes repeal but encourages the promotion of marriage and the discouragement of sexual activity among the young. It contains provisions against "homophobic" verbal abuse. It was tabled, then withdrawn, during last week's debate in the House of Lords, which the Government lost.
It is now being considered as the basis of guidelines that could win cross-party support.
But critics point out that it neither prohibits the promotion of homosexuality nor clearly defines the family.
"Some local authorities and
NHS trusts are determined to promote homosexuality to young people," warned Colin Hart, the institute's director who is distributing copies of Gay Sex Now to bishops to make them aware of material that could be used in schools and youth clubs.
"It is clear that the bishop's amendment will do nothing to stop the distribution of this material.
"It is not so much a compromise as a complete surrender. It repeals Section 28 without putting any restrictions in place.
"It should not be the business of the Church to give the Government an excuse to press on with its plans for repeal. Guidelines are not legally binding.
"Only legislation can provide protection needed for young people."
Last week, Scotland's Cardinal Thomas Winning also made clear that he believed it was "not a sufficient safeguard to replace a law with guidelines".
"If parliaments are sincere in saying that they wish to protect children from the promotion of homosexuality then such protection should he enshrined in law. Only when people see this protection is enforceable will they be reassured," he said.
Frank Longford — p12