Campaign Against Moral Persecution remembered in WA Parliament

Maylands MP Lisa Baker stood in parliament this week to highlight the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the WA branch of the Campaign Against Moral Persecution (CAMP).

Speaking to the parliament Baker highlighted this groundbreaking group who fought for gay rights in the 1970s.

“Set up in May 1971 to focus on advocacy for the LGBTQIA+ community, the Campaign Against Moral Persecution sought to abolish discriminatory laws against male sexual relations. It was one of the first gay rights groups in Australia.” Baker explained.

“It was originally intended to respond to media misinformation, but it rapidly became a national organisation with branches in all states and capitals and took on a more broadly inclusive role for the gay community.

“In May 1971, a small advertisement appeared in the personal column of the classified section of The Sunday Times. It stated that people who would like information regarding homosexuality to assist in the development of a proper social understanding should write to the David Widdup Campaign Against Moral Persecution.”

“Seventy people replied and, subsequently, a WA branch was formed. By the end of that year, 500 members had joined and the association had its own clubrooms.

While members of CAMP Inc were fighting for the removal of laws which criminalised homosexuality, change in Western Australia would not come into affect until 1990 after being passed by the Downing Government, and equalisation of the age of consent did not occur until 2002 via the McGinty reforms that were delivered under the Gallop Government.

“CAMP WA has played an important role in campaigns to find a more equitable space for LGBTQIA people. I am so proud that members of my rainbow community stood up and fought for equality and recognition. I recognise the work that former Attorney General Jim McGinty did in law reform in this space and congratulate CAMP WA,” Baker said.

The MP said she had been reminded of the anniversary by a constituent who was a former President of the organisation and volunteered between 1978 and 1986.

OIP Staff

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