Today, history is made as the government backs a bill to scrap the ‘last anti-LGBT law’ in the British statute.
An outdated law introduced in 1994, when homosexuality was decriminalised in the Navy, allows shipping firms to sack people for engaging in ‘homosexual activity’.
Subsequent acts put in place over the past two decades – such as the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 and the Equality Act of 2010 – have long since made this law defunct.
But scrapping the ridiculous and discriminatory law sends a finite message that homophobia will not be tolerated by our judicial system under any circumstance, once and for all.
A group of MPs have put forward a bill to formally scrap it so that it is erased from the statute book.
The government has backed the battle to remove one of the last UK-wide laws that discriminate against people for having gay sex.
Tory MP, John Glen told the House of Commons:
When it comes to employment, in the merchant navy or anywhere else, what matters is a person’s ability to do the job—not their gender, age, ethnicity, religion or sexuality.
Many will be surprised – astonished, even – to learn that this anomaly still remains on the statute book. There is no place in our society today for employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
These provisions are the last remaining historic legislation on our statute books which discriminate on grounds of homosexual orientation.
The UK Chamber of Shipping, the industry body for the merchant navy, have welcomed the Bill, as has long-standing campaigner Peter Tatchell.
This completes the process of repeal of historic provisions penalising homosexual activity that started with the Wolfenden Report in 1957, the landmark report that argued for the decriminalisation of homosexual conduct.
It marks a huge step forward for the LGBT community but there is still more to be done on our shores to make a better, more equal world.
Despite this bringing an end to all anti-LGBT legislation in England, Wales and Scotland, same-sex marriage remains banned in Northern Ireland.