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British PM Blair ignores church leaders' warning on gay sex at 16
    Despite "strong moral and health objections" expressed by a group of church leaders including Catholic Archbishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the age of sexual consent for homosexuals has been lowered from 18 to 16.
    Despite House of Commons majorities in favour of change, the House of Lords blocked the move in July 1998 and again in April last year. Last month, peers once more voted against the Bill. Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, upset Tory peers when he invoked the rarely used Parliament Act to ensure that the changes reached the statute book. Under the Act, any legislation that has been rejected by the Lords can automatically become law one year later if it reflects the wishes of the House of Commons.
    The letter of the religious leaders said: "There are strong moral and health objections to what is proposed, which also goes against the beliefs of many religious people - Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs."