There's a press release up at artbomb.net about upcoming books by Alan Moore. Among them is The Mirror of Love:
This epic poem recounts the history of same-sex love, revealing a hidden side of Western culture through the lives of its greatest artists. Sappho, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Oscar Wilde, and many others are woven into this rich, visceral piece described by The Comics Journal as a "vital, affecting piece of work . exquisitely moving -- not because it's a testament to same-sex love, but because it's a testament to love, period." Originally written fourteen years ago, The Mirror of Love sprang from Moore's activist heart as a reaction to Britain's controversial anti-gay law, Clause 28.
I'm in the States, of course, and have no clue what Clause 28 is.
The Clause applies to local authority funded activities. It states that a local authority shall not "intentionally promote homosexuality."
The clause was debated at length at the Committee stage in the House of Lords. Hansard records the Minister for State at the Home Office said:
"Local authorities have a duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service. Provided this and only this is what they intend to do, there can be no question of the Clause inhibiting them from stocking any book they think necessary for that purpose." Hansard (Lords) 1. 2.88
"We recognise that local authorities are under a duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service and that they may wish to stock a range of materials about homosexuality, dealing with homosexual themes or written by homosexual authors. Clause 28 does not stop them doing so unless they are setting out intentionallly to promote homosexuality." Hansard (Lords) 1.2.88
It's probably something Moore made up. Writers do that sort of thing, you know.
Update: Ask a silly question -- such as What is Clause 28?
Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 states that:
A local authority shall not
- a) intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality;
- b) promote the teaching in any maintained school the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship;
[. . .] Perhaps the thorniest issue in interpreting Section 28 is that of how promotion is to be construed. It might be said that a relatively innocuous statement such as "homosexuals are human beings" would be an infringement of the Section. Another view might be that the Section is not infringed unless there is encouragement to the public to become homosexual. The difficult issue of what exactly is meant by promotion would be a matter for the courts, which can consider the purpose of legislation and ministerial statements made in Parliament.
Since it is widely thought that no legal action has ever been brought under Section 28, the above is largely academic. It is perhaps more pertinent to consider how the Section has been perceived in public libraries, and what effect it has actually had on library services.
Get a disturbing answer. Good thing we don't have similar laws here in the US.
Do we have similar laws here in the US?
Or is this another of those silly questions I'd be happier not knowing the answer to?
Update: I'm not very intelligent. Didn't even cross my mind to check out the Guardian:
Row erupts over section 28
The simmering row in the Tory party over section 28, which has become a totem for social liberals in the party, erupted at the Guardian's fringe meeting yesterday after one Conservative moderniser called it "offensive".
As the party struggles to define itself, Steven Norris, the Tory candidate for London mayor, said: "Section 28, which effectively says homosexuality is due to a lack of moral fibre, is offensive."
Mr Norris said the party had to stand for "equality of respect for every citizen".
"If you think equality is a soft idea you are wrong. This is a battle not yet won, but at last it is engaged."
[. . .] Section 28, introduced by the Tories in the 1988 Local Government Act, effectively stops teachers discussing homosexuality in schools, and is one of the key issues in the party's debate on modernisation.
The Tories are the equivalent of the Democratic Party.
There is no equivalent of the Republicans. All the religious freaks left, remember, and went to colonize Australia.
Or something else starting with an "A".