Cat Stevens backs UK anti-gay clause

Published Mar 21, 2000


London - Yusuf Islam, better known as the pop singer Cat Stevens, on Tuesday stepped into the controversy over plans to repeal a clause banning the promotion of homosexuality in British schools.

Islam - who shot to fame in the 1960s with the hits Matthew and Son and Morning Has Broken - condemned the move as a further deterioration in religious and moral standards.

In a press conference at the House of Lords in London, Islam said: "This is part of the deterioration of the moral statutes that we are witnessing day by day."

Flanked by Labour life peer Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, who is also fighting the repeal of the clause, Islam continued: "We are very grateful that the House of Lords seem to represent a bulwark, a wall of protection, for great moral principles against the overrun of the state."

The British government is looking to repeal Section 28 of the Local Government Act banning the promotion of homosexuality in schools in an amendment to the Learning and Skills Bill, when it receives its third reading in the Lords on Thursday.

Education Secretary David Blunkett has said the Learning and Skills Bill envisages children being taught that marriage and stable relationships were the "building blocks" of society.

But Tories, church leaders and some Labour peers are rebelling over the government's plans to include within the bill the abolition of Section 28 of the Local Government Act.

In a key phrase, the guidance included in the bill says children must be taught that "marriage and permanent relationships are the building blocks of communities and society".

In an effort to counter homophobic bullying, it also says teachers must teach children about the differences between people and try to "prevent and remove prejudice". - Sapa-DPA

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