Why Do Gays Need Longer to Grow Up?; BREEN THERE & DONE THAT

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), July 17, 1997 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Why Do Gays Need Longer to Grow Up?; BREEN THERE & DONE THAT


Gays in Britain are celebrating winning another key battle this week. The Government has announced that it won't be contesting a case before the European Commission of Human Rights which claims that different ages of consent for homosexuals and heterosexuals is discriminatory.

A free vote will be held in the House of Commons in the autumn to make the age of consent for gays, currently 18, the same as it is for straights - 16.

This will bring Britain into line with most other European countries. But while gays in Great Britain have reasons to rejoice, their counterparts here are anxious. They are worried that, as happened with abortion, another progressive law won't be extended to Northern Ireland.

The age of consent for heterosexuals here is 17, a year higher than in the rest of the UK. As in Great Britain, gays in Northern Ireland must wait until they're 18 to have lawful sex. Some may argue that having to wait an extra year isn't a big deal but that misses the point.

Imagine the furore there would be if men were allowed to vote at 18 but women had to wait until they were 19 to exercise their franchise? Picture the outrage if Protestants were allowed into pubs at 18 but Catholics had to be a year older?

The age of consent shouldn't vary with sexual orientation. Niall, who works for the Belfast gay help line, Cara Friend, says: ''By having different ages of consent, the Government is sending a message to the wider community that gay people aren't equal, that it's okay to discriminate against them.''

Steven, another young gay, says that it will be extremely difficult to ensure that gays are treated equally in other areas of life - in the workplace, for instance - when institutional discrimination exists regarding the age of consent.

In 1994 when the age of consent for gays was lowered from 21 to 18, Northern Ireland was initially not included in the legislation.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Why Do Gays Need Longer to Grow Up?; BREEN THERE & DONE THAT
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?