July 2000 and people gather at All Saints in Manchester for a 'March for Justice'
through the streets.
The March is in protest at Section 28 -- the law that was introduced by Margaret
Thatcher's Government in 1988. Section 28 tried to prevent local authorities from
'promoting' homosexuality. There has never been a successful prosecution under
this discriminatory law. But it has interfered in education and work surrounding
HIV prevention. In June 2000 it was scrapped by the Scottish Parliament.
The procession is led by Angela Mason of Stonewall and activist Peter Tatchell,
who are accompanied by Spitting Image puppets of three of the key opponents to
reform: (left to right in the picture below) Brian Souter of Stagecoach buses,
Baroness Young and Cardinal Winning.
The good-natured procession winds its way through
the heart of Manchester's gay village area, booing any Stagecoach buses that happen
to pass. However, one driver gives us a big smile!
The company's share price has dropped substantially since Brian Souter began his
campaign against the scrapping of Section 28.
And, in July, one of the company's executives was arrested in Texas by vice squad
officers who had been posing as male prostitutes...
The March disrupted traffic and attracted the attention
of shoppers in the city centre.
A rally followed in Albert Square. One of the speakers was Phil Maddock -- the
father of Andrea Dykes, who was killed in last year's Soho bomb blast.
He said that Section 28 must be repealed, so that hatred
and prejudice can be challenged.
After the rally, there was a chill out in Sackville Park and club and bar events
in the evening.
24 July 2000: legislation was re-introduced into the House of Lords, and
April 2003: Section 28 was still in force with no plans to repeal it in
new legislation. Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford said he was prepared
for a backbencher to sponsor the change.
18 November 2003: Section 28 was finally consigned to the scrap heap! The
Labour Party's Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford said: 'For over a decade,
Section 28 has cast a cloud of confusion and ambiguity over local authorities'
ability to support and provide services to the whole of their community. Repeal
means that this cloud has lifted.'