May 31, 2000
volume 11, no. 101

NEWS for Wednesday, May 31, 2000

    The referendum funded by businessman Brian Souter has voted overwhelmingly in support of the retention of Section 28, the law which bans the promotion of homosexuality in schools.

    Although only one third of those eligible to vote actually did so, nearly 87 percent of those who responded to the postal ballot were in favor of retaining the law which the Scottish Parliament is determined to scrap.

    The results of the poll -- said to have cost multi-millionaire Souter 1 million pounds -- were announced in Edinburgh today.

    "This is a tremendous result for Keep the Clause," said Souter. "It really demonstrates the determination of people to defy the government and register a protest vote."

    He continued: "A denial of this result would be a denial of democracy. If this is a listening government, listen to this."

    But Scottish Communities and Local Government Minister Wendy Alexander was dismissive of the result. "I think what is significant about today's ballot is that two out of three voters rejected, or binned, or simply ignored this glorified opinion poll," she told the BBC.

    Tim Hopkins, from the Scrap the Section campaign, said the result was not unexpected in what had been one of the most "unbalanced, misinformed ballots in Scottish history." And Rozanne Foyer, assistant secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress, said the ballot was "nothing more than a cynical attempt to undermine our democratic processes."

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