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Campaign to stamp out homophobia in soccer sees surge in public support

Campaign to stamp out homophobia in soccer sees surge in public support

The UK’s LGB equal rights charity Stonewall has announced that it has seen a surge in support for its Rainbow Laces campaign this year, with requests from the public for pairs of the laces passing the 100,000 mark – far exhausting the charity’s stocks of 50,000.

Launched last year, the Rainbow Laces campaign coincides with the beginning of the England soccer season. The campaign aims to highlight the issue of homophobia in soccer, and is a joint venture between Stonewall, Paddy Power and the Gay Football Supporters’ Network.

GayStarNews is working with Stonewall to promote the campaign by running adverts on its site.

Following the success of last year’s campaign, this year’s campaign has really caught public interest. On Monday, free morning newspaper Metro run a special issue dedicated to the campaign, and #RainbowLaces has trended on Twitter both in the UK and worldwide.

High-profile figures in the world of soccer have spoken out in support of the campaign, including Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who said this week, ‘The fight against homophobia and any discrimination is very important and we have that responsibility.’

Pairs of laces have been sent out to all the professional soccer clubs across England, and Stonewall is asking players to wear them in their boots for fixtures taking place this weekend.

‘The response from clubs, players, fans, celebs and the public has been incredible,’ says Richard Lane, Stonewall’s Media Manager.

‘It’s up to the players now – the ball is in their court. We hope they recognize the thousands of voices calling for the game to change and lace up this weekend.’

In separate news, campaign sponsors Paddy Power revealed on Twitter that they had sent some of the laces to the Westboro Baptist Church in the US – an organization famed for its notoriously anti-gay stance.

The letter accompanying the laces began, ‘Dear hate-filled vermin’, and went on to say; ‘There is no hell so we cannot take any satisfaction in the eventual damnation of your souls.

‘The only consolation is that your odious doctrine of hate is on an inevitable road to defeat at the hands of the truly important human values of compassion, reason and love.

‘One day, your poisonous bile will be long forgotten, the world will continue to turn and your descendants will be blissfully unaware of the enmity you once peddled due to a misguided interpretation of God’s will. And quite possibly, they’ll be in gay relationships. Suck on that.

‘Please find enclosed some Rainbow Laces should you decide to abandon your futile efforts before their inevitable demise.

‘Lots of (heterosexual, homosexual, platonic and all the other kinds of) love, The Rainbow Laces Campaign x’