David Cameron right to apologise for Section 28, says Scottish Tory leader
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has said it was wrong “pure and simple” for the Conservative Party to have supported Section 28.
Ms Davidson, who is gay, made the remarks in a Guardian interview where she singled out praise for Margaret Thatcher.
Listing the achievements of her party, Ms Davidson said: “For all people try to project things on to the Conservative party, we’ve got a really good record of picking people that perhaps aren’t the identikit politician … a grocer’s daughter from Grantham …”
When reminded of Section 28, Ms Davidson responded: “Well, David Cameron went into the crucible of the Stonewall conference to apologise for Section 28 and say that the party was wrong. And he’s right, the party was wrong, for me, pure and simple.”
She said: “I worked hard so that people in the party knew that I was speaking for me and it was a free vote, but also that it was something that I believed in and was passionate about.
“And that you can believe in something and be passionate about it without that being the only driver for you. And I would hope that there’s much more to me in terms of what I want to achieve in politics, but that doesn’t diminish how much it meant to me when that bill passed.”
Section 28 was introduced under the Thatcher government as part of the Local Government Act in 1988.
It stated that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” and that schools “could not promote of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.
Section 28 was repealed first of all in Scotland in 2000.
It was later repealed under Tony Blair’s Labour government in 2003 for England and Wales, David Cameron apologised for the policy in 2009 at a Tory fundraiser.
“Yes, we may have sometimes been slow and, yes, we may have made mistakes, including Section 28, but the change has happened,” Mr Cameron said.
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He admitted that he did not have a “perfect record” on gay rights, a reference to his decision in 2003 to vote for the retention of Section 28.
Following the death of Lady Thatcher in April last year, Labour leader Ed Miliband said her support for Section 28 caused gay people to be “stigmatised”.
He said: “The introduction of same-sex civil marriage says something about the sort of country we are. It says we are a country that will continue to honour its proud traditions of respect, tolerance and equal worth. It also sends a powerful message to young people growing up who are uncertain about their sexuality. It clearly says ‘you are equal’ whether straight or gay.”
Today, the Scottish Government told PinkNews the first same-sex marriages in the country would take place by the end of the year.