Gay and Lesbian Humanist

Winter 1989-1990


We reported in our Autumn ’88 issue that the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), to which GALHA is affiliated, passed a resolution at its congress in the USA last year condemning Section 28 in the UK. It called on its member organisations worldwide, as well as its representatives at the United Nations and the Council of Europe, to put international pressure on the British government to repeal the section.

Now the IHEU, which represents more than three million members worldwide, has circulated a memorandum highly critical of the British record on gay rights at a meeting in Strasbourg of representatives of organisations holding consultative status within the Council of Europe.

The document On Recent Developments in Law Affecting the Human Rights of Homosexual Women and Men was drawn up by GALHA member Kees Waaldijk, lecturer in public law at the Dutch University of Limburg and part-time lecturer at the Homostudies Department at Utrecht University.

The document maintains that the religious belief that homosexuality is morally wrong is one of the main causes for the non-recognition of gay rights as human rights, and cites cases (e.g. Northern Ireland) in which the institutions of the Council of Europe have been supportive of these rights. It outlines recent developments in European laws on homosexuality and concludes: “As far as legislation is concerned, the overall picture is one of slow but progressive implementation of the rights and freedoms contained in the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social Charter. The one exception is the recent British legislation against the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ by local government.”

The IHEU document then devotes several pages to Section 28 pointing out to the Council of Europe meeting the various ways in which human rights are violated or endangered by it.

IHEU co-chairperson Professor Rob Tielman, who heads the Homostudies Department at the University of Utrecht, is expected to address the next Strasbourg meeting on lesbian and gay rights in January 1990.

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Created : Sunday, 2003-03-09 / Last updated : Wednesday, 2007-12-12
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