Baroness Knight: Section 28 architect says she’s sorry ‘if the law hurt anyone’

The architect behind Section 28, the legislation which prevented the supposed promotion of homosexuality in schools, has said she is sorry if the law hurt anyone.

Baroness Knight, who was the main driving force behind the homophobic law, said on Thursday that her motivation had supposedly only been the welfare of children.

In an interview broadcast on the BBC, she told Matthew Todd, former editor of Attitude magazine, that she had only been trying to act on the public’s demands.

She said: “The intention was the well-being of children, and if I got that wrong, well sorry but I didn’t believe… I’d have welcomed a letter from someone like you who knew what that legislation was feeling like.”

The Conservative peer added: “I’m sorry if anything I did upset you. All I was trying to do was acting on what people wrote to me, said to me, what the papers said.”

It is not the first time that the baroness has spoken about her role in creating the legislation, which is recognised as preventing the spread of potentially life-saving information during the HIV/AIDS crisis.

In 2013, she told BBC Radio 5 Live that she had moved forward the law because four-year-olds were being “taught how to do the homosexual act.”

She said: “My moving of clause 28 was not against homosexuals, it was against what was happening in many schools, that children as young as four and five were being taught how to do the homosexual act.

“I made it quite clear that I also would have opposed what’s called straight sex, being taught to children as young as four as well.

“I really felt that children should be left to their innocence particularly at that stage, it’s too young.”

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However, in a bizarre speech on the bill for equal marriage in 2013, she said: “This bill ignores a fact well understood for centuries. Marriage is not just about love.

“Of course homosexuals are delightful people, very artistic, and they are very loving people too. No one doubts that for one single moment, but marriage is not about just love.

“It is about a man and a woman, themselves created to produce children, producing children.”

Section 28 prevented teachers from promoting the “acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.”

Proponents of the legislation argued that it was needed to prevent indoctrination of young children into homosexuality.

In effect it meant that councils were prohibited from funding of books, plays, leaflets, films, or other materials showing same-sex relationships, while teachers weren’t allowed to teach about gay relationships.

The effects of the law are still felt today according to one of the campaigners who opposed its introduction.

Sue Sanders, the chair of Schools OUT UK and founder of LGBT+ History Month, told PinkNews: “The shadow of Section 28 is very long. It is extraordinary to think that it has been dead for 15 years.

“You can go into schools now and there will be teachers who are still afraid to talk about lesbian and gay issues. Their assumption that it’s not appropriate, that it’s not acceptable, that it’s not legal, is still there.”

The law was repealed in 2000 in Scotland, and in 2003 in the rest of the UK.

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