Section 28


  • Section 28 was part of the 1988 Local Government Act. It was introduced because some local authorities were intentionally promoting homosexuality in schools and youth groups, often through classroom resources.
  • Section 28 prevented local authorities spending money on the promotion of homosexuality in schools or elsewhere. It also prevented local authorities from promoting a homosexual lifestyle as a “pretended family relationship”.
  • Section 28 did not prevent legitimate discussion of homosexuality or the counselling of pupils who are being bullied.
  • Section 28 was repealed in Scotland in 2000 by the Scottish Parliament. The House of Lords defeated an attempt by the Government in 2000 to abolish Section 28 in England and Wales.
  • In 2003, the Government succeeded in abolishing Section 28 in England and Wales.

Biblical arguments

The historic Christian faith has always affirmed Biblical teaching that homosexual acts are always wrong (e.g. Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-27). 

The Bible is clear that the context for sex is marriage (Genesis 2:24). Sexual acts between men and women before marriage (fornication) or outside marriage (adultery) are also condemned as wrong (Matthew 5:27-28).

The Bible also has much to say about temptation and the pastoral issues involved. (See Homosexual age of consent)

God in his grace has provided the institution of marriage for all people, believers and non-believers alike. It is a covenant ordained from creation (Genesis 2:24).

Repealing Section 28 means that local authorities can promote homosexuality in schools. Homosexuality can be put on the same basis as heterosexuality. This is abhorrent to Christian people.

Duty to protect young people

There is a duty to defend the vulnerable and the weak: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9)

Jesus gave a very solemn warning of judgement for those who lead children who believe in him to sin. Jesus said “it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.” (Mark 9:42)

Key points

  • Opponents of Section 28 claimed it was redundant as local authorities have no role in sex education. Yet whilst local authorities were relieved of their specific legal duties in 2000, they do retain general powers to influence and advise or to produce classroom materials.
  • Some councils are using their powers to push highly inappropriate resources onto schools. A report published by The Christian Institute in 2003 detailed lesson extracts from council-backed sex education packs.1 The individual lessons were so explicit and appalling they should never be used in schools under any circumstances.
  • Now that Section 28 has been repealed, there are no robust safeguards in law to protect children from inappropriate materials or the deliberate promotion of homosexuality.
  • In February 2005 the Department for Education and Skills promoted and helped fund the first ever “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender history month” for schools.2 The event organised by gay rights group Schools Out encouraged schools to “celebrate”homosexuality and the gay community.
Public opinion

In a referendum funded by Brian Souter over one million Scots voted to keep Section 28 (this was 86.8% of those who voted).3 A poll carried out in the Prime Minister’s own constituency of Sedgefield in 2000 found that 71% of people wanted to keep Section 28.4

Undermining marriage

The public promotion of homosexuality is damaging to our society. It undermines the married family by equating the married family with a pretended family relationship.

It is especially damaging to young people who are already under many sexual pressures from the media and the world of entertainment. Schools can cover basic facts about homosexuality, but they must not promote it.

A homosexual lifestyle carries great health risks
  • According to the largest and most detailed study to date, The National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, less than 4% of British men have ever had same-sex genital contact in their life.5 Yet, a total of 66.0% of all male HIV infections in the UK were acquired through homosexual intercourse.6 In comparison, heterosexual intercourse made up only 20.2% of male infections and almost all of these (87.4%) were acquired though exposure abroad or through sexual contact with someone who had been infected outside Europe.7
  • Men who have ever engaged in any homosexual sex are banned for life from giving blood in the UK, even if it was so-called ‘safe sex’ with a condom.8
  • The UK Blood Transfusion Services state that abolishing the rule for gay men would increase the risk of HIV infected donations entering the UK blood supply in England by about five times. Furthermore, changing the rule to allow gay men to donate one year after they last had sex with another man would increase the risk by 60%.9
  • The risk of HIV infection from anal intercourse is extremely high: for men it is at least 2,700 times the risk from vaginal intercourse.10
  • The condom company Durex said in October 2000: “Anal intercourse is a high-risk activity because of the potential for infection from STDs including HIV transmission. Currently, there are no specific standards for the manufacture of condoms for anal sex. Current medical advice is therefore to avoid anal sex.”11
  • 1Sex  Lessons For Kids: Children Need More Protection, Not Less, The Christian Institute, 2003
  • 2Derek Twigg MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for schools), House of Commons, Hansard, 10 January 2005, col. 195 wa
  • 3The Herald, 31 May 2000; The Scotsman, 31 May 2000; Daily Record, 31 May 2000
  • 4The Daily Telegraph, 9 March 2000
  • 5K, Wellings, K et al, Sexual Behaviour in Britain, Penguin, 1994, pages 209, 188 (with Table 5.4), 217. The later National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles was published in 2001 but its sample size is smaller and it excludes the age-range 45 to 59 used in the 1990 survey.
  • 6Communicable Disease Report Weekly, 15 (8),  February 2005, Health Protection Agency, Table 1
  • 7Communicable Disease Report Weekly, 15 (8),  February 2005, Health Protection Agency, Table 2
  • 8‘Why We Ask Gay Men Not To Give Blood’,  UK Blood Transfusion Services, see http://www.transfusionguidelines.org.uk/index.asp?Publication=DL&Section=12&pageid=391 as at 10 March 2005
  • 9‘Why We Ask Gay Men Not To Give Blood’,  UK Blood Transfusion Services, see http://www.transfusionguidelines.org.uk/index.asp?Publication=DL&Section=12&pageid=391 as at 10 March 2005
  • 10Stewart, G, ‘Scientific Surveillance and the Control of Aids: A Call for Open Debate’, Health Care Analysis, 2, 1994, pages 279-286
  • 11See http://www.durex.com/scientific/faqs/faq_4.html as at 26 April 2001

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