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MANCHESTER LAUNCHES GLOBAL GAY CAMPAIGN - AS STRAW ANNOUNCES AGE OF CONSENT TO BE EQUALISED

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Manchester launched a global campaign to market the city as one of the gay capitals of the world, reported the Fina...
Manchester launched a global campaign to market the city as one of the gay capitals of the world, reported the Financial Times (24 July, p8). It is targeting lesbian and gay communities in the US and continental Europe in an attempt to increase tourism.

Posters have been launched showing images of life in the gay community, from kissing lesbians to sailor-suited gays on Manchester's Canal Street, at the heart of the gay community. Advertising is being placed in gay publications and on the internet.

Iain Scott, one of the local businessmen helping to promote the city and region with Marketing Manchester, the promotional organisation, said: 'We recognise that gay men and women don't want just the bars and clubs, they also want the theatres and the Lake District

and north Wales, and all this region has to offer'.

ABUSE OF TRUST LAW AND GAY AGE OF CONSENT TO BE 16 'BY NEXT YEAR'

The age of consent for homosexuals will be reduced to 16 - the same as for heterosexuals - by early next year at the latest, home secretary Jack Straw told MPs, reported The Daily Telegraph (p10). He said the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill will be reintroduced in the queen's speech in November.

The equalisation of the age of consent has twice been rejected by large majorities in the lords.

On the latest occasion earlier this year it failed by 222 votes to 146. Mr Straw said that if necessary the Parliament Acts, allowing the commons to override the views of the lords and insist that a Bill becomes law, would be invoked.

The Bill has two key aims: establishing equality before the law and creating an offence of abuse of trust designed to protect the most vulnerable children and young people from people in positions of trust and authority, such as teachers and carers. The offence would apply where a person aged 18 or over has sexual intercourse or engages in any sexual activity with a person under that age if the older person is in a position of trust.

Mr Straw was given special dispensation to make the announcement as the contents of the queen's speech, opening a new session of parliament, is usually confidential until it is delivered

at the state opening.

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