Ian Lucas MP has joined a Welsh sporting legend in calling for homophobic abuse at football matches to be outlawed.
Gareth Thomas was at the Houses of Parliament on Monday, June 25 to launch a draft bill which would make homophobic chanting illegal.
Wrexham MP Mr Lucas met Mr Thomas, who came out as gay in 2009, at the launch event and fully supports the ex-rugby star’s campaign.
Mr Lucas said: “Sadly, we still hear about examples of homophobia in football and we need to ensure this quickly becomes a thing of the past. There must be a zero tolerance approach to this kind of abuse.
“The draft bill is an important step towards eradicating such discrimination from football. It has my full backing and it was a pleasure to meet Gareth at the Houses of Parliament to lend my support to this campaign.”
Mr Thomas is seeking an amendment to the Football Offences Act 1991, which made racist abuse within football stadia illegal. The amendment would extend that legal protection to LGBT+ players and fans, making any indecent chanting or gesturing with reference to sexual orientation or gender identity against the law.
The draft bill was launched by Mr Thomas and MP Damian Collins, who sits with Mr Lucas on the digital, culture, media and sport select committee.
Mr Thomas made a documentary last year for BBC Wales about homophobia in football. He tweeted to say he was ‘very proud’ to be making a difference at the House of Parliament.
The 43-year-old won 100 caps for Wales’ rugby union team, also appearing in three Tests for the British & Irish Lions. He switched codes late in his career, signing for the Wrexham-based Crusaders team in 2010 and winning four caps for his nation’s rugby league side before retiring from the sport.