The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) has warmly welcomed the election of its long-standing member and committee member Terry Sanderson as the new president of the National Secular Society (NSS).

Mr Sanderson, who has served for some time on the NSS Council of Management, was elected at the society’s AGM over the weekend at London’s Conway Hall.

He is a former counsellor, the author of a number of seminal books on gay issues, including Assertively Gay, and is a regular columnist.

The NSS is one of the oldest societies in the country. It was co-founded in 1866 by Charles Bradlaugh, MP for Northampton, who became its first president

He was a strong advocate of birth control, trade unionism, republicanism and women’s suffrage and was ejected from the House of Commons for claiming the right to affirm instead of taking the religious oath of allegiance.

The NSS is a vigorous campaigner for liberal causes including freedom of expression and LGBT rights.

It campaigns for the separation of Church and State and challenges religious privilege like the current rapid increase of faith schools funded at taxpayers’ expense and mandatory morning worship in state schools. It is affiliated to Amnesty International and Liberty.

GALHA secretary George Broadhead said: “We warmly welcome Terry Sanderson’s election as NSS president. He has long been a great asset to GALHA and a staunch critic of media and religious homophobia.

“Since its founding 27 years ago, GALHA has had close, friendly relations with the NSS and I am sure that under Mr Sanderson’s presidency it will go from strength to strength”.