Campaign for Homosexual Equality disaffiliated from Liberty

Jessica Geen July 16, 2009
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The Campaign for Homosexual Equality has been disaffiliated from human rights organisation Liberty, allegedly over a motion which called for a time limit on reporting child sex abuse.

The gay rights group, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, was informed in April that its affiliation with Liberty would be terminated.

A letter from Liberty director of operations Raj Chandarana said that “significant” concerns had been raised about CHE and the “appropriateness of continued affiliation to Liberty”.

The letter cited issues around “the nature and size of the CHE membership, governance structures, constitution, electoral process, policy-making process, financial transparency, recent issues and commitment to the objectives of Liberty”.

It added: “In particular, your motion on child sex abuse is also clearly contrary to the objectives of Liberty, as listed in Article 2 of Liberty’s constitution.”

The contentious motion read: “We urge the government to introduce a Statute of Limitation which would debar any criminal prosecution in respect of alleged child abuse unless the matter was brought to the attention of the police within five years of the complainant reaching the age of majority.”

The group has claimed that in cases of historic abuse, evidence or acknowledgment of an accused man being gay can damage his chances of acquittal due to homophobia and confusion between homosexuality and paedophilia.

CHE life president Allan Horsfall wrote in the group’s latest annual report: “It is now beyond dispute that a proportion of historical abuse cases result from false allegations that are driven by the prospect of handsome compensation awards.”

The group has appealed the decision, saying Liberty has not made the reason for the disaffiliation clear.

Speaking to, Horsfall said: “If Liberty didn’t like [the motion], they should have let it go forward to debate. It’s almost impossible to discuss.

“They just said ‘We’re going to cancel your affiliation. They haven’t said the reason but we’re sure this is the reason.

“The main reason to appeal is to drag out of them the reason for the disaffiliation.

“I had faith in them and they can speak openly to me.”

Liberty declined to comment.

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