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20 Proud Years

March 3, 2008 7:34 PM

On March 3rd, 1988 the Liberal Democrats was formally launched following the merger negotiations between the Liberal Party and the SDP. Today the party is twenty years old - with a proud record on lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality from the very start.

Our constitution enshrined our commitment that "No one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity" and as the party took shape one of the key battles raging was over Section 28, a piece of Conservative Party legislation which sought to outlaw the very concept of homosexuality - going beyond the existing discriminatory laws of the time to marginalise even admitting that being lesbian or gay was possible. Labour supported the bill in those early days - and even blocked attempts to repeal it as recently as 2001 - but the Liberal Democrats were clear in their opposition to the infamous clause.

It set a precedent of the party leading the way on gay rights while the Tories fought against equality and Labour prevaricated, just as had been the situation for the Liberal Party before.

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