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BOTH SIDES CLAIM VICTORY IN SCOTS S28 REFERENDUM

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The Scottish Executive will press on with the repeal of s28, despite the outcome of the private referendum which le...
The Scottish Executive will press on with the repeal of s28, despite the outcome of the private referendum which left both sides claiming victory.

Moves to scrap the controversial ban on councils 'promoting' homosexuality were debated by a parliamentary committee on the same day the Keep the Clause campaign reported that 1.1 million of the four million Scots on the electoral register had supported retention of s28 (implemented in Scotland as s2A).

The local government committee decided to reject an amendment which would have seen the importance of marriage emphasised in Scottish schools - rather than simply 'stable family relationships'.

The executive expects the Ethics in Public Life Bill, which contains the measure, to receive its third reading in late June and Royal Assent in July.

The ballot, largely funded by Stagecoach chairman Brian Souter, produced an 86.8% to 13.2% majority against the executive's plans.

Turnout was just under 35%, according to returning officer John Cowdall, former chief executive of West Lancashire DC. This figure includes around 26,000 empty envelopes and spoilt ballot papers, a tactic urged by campaigners in favour of repeal.

Mr Souter described the result as 'the clear and unequivocal verdict of the Scottish people'.

Scrap the Section, the campaign backed by Unison and the Scottish TUC, branded the poll 'a massive flop'. Spokesman George McGregor said: 'Brian Souter spent millions on this ballot. We're delighted the people of Scotland have rejected his shameful chequebook democracy and 72% of Scots have snubbed him.'

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