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  • Section 28 was repealed in Scotland in 2000 by the Scottish Parliament.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 Labour 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 and recommend classroom materials.
  • Some councils are using their powers to push highly inappropriate resources onto schools.1 Reports published by The Christian Institute in 2003 and 2010 detailed lesson extracts from council-backed sex education packs.2 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.

Public opinion

In a referendum funded by Brian Souter over one million Scots voted to keep Section 28 (this was 86.8 per cent of those who voted).3 A poll carried out in then Prime Minister Tony Blair’s own constituency of Sedgefield in 2000 found that 71 per cent 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, contrary to biblical teaching.

It is especially damaging to young people who are already under many sexual pressures from the media and the world of entertainment.

A homosexual lifestyle carries great health risks

  • According to the latest National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (NATSAL), 5.5 per cent of British men report ever having had same-sex genital contact in their life.5 Yet new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 72.5 per cent of male diagnoses of HIV reported in the UK in 2013.6 The Office for National Statistics found in 2013 that 2 per cent of adult men identified themselves as either gay or bisexual.7
  • Despite strong protests from activists, men who have had sex with men continue to be banned for 12 months from giving blood because of the risks to the blood supply.8
  • 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.”9
  1. 1See for example, Birmingham Mail, 30 January 2015, as at 6 May 2015
  2. 2Sex Lessons For Kids: Children Need More Protection, Not Less, The Christian Institute, 2003; Too much, too young, The Christian Institute, 2010
  3. 3The Scotsman, 31 May 2000
  4. 4Daily Mail, 9 March 2000
  5. 5Wellings, K, Johnson A M, Phelps A et al, Changes in sexual attitudes and lifestyles in Britain through the life course and over time: findings from the National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal), Lancet, 382, November 2013, pages 1781-1794
  6. 6HIV in the United Kingdom: 2014 Report, Public Health England, November 2014, pages 9-10
  7. 7Integrated Household Survey, January to December 2013, Office for National Statistics, October 2014, page 3
  8. 8‘Who Can’t Give Blood?’ Give Blood, see as at 27 April 2015
  9. 9‘Condoms and non-vaginal use’, DUREX Scientific: FAQ, see as at 5 May 2015