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Stonewall faces criticism over ‘bigot of the year’ awards

BenSix recently wrote about a man who was demoted for asserting his opposition to gay marriage in church – apparently all he said was that it was ‘an equality too far’:

Perhaps there’s a complication that’s been obscured from the public view but all the information that’s available suggests that this is another example of the draconian enforcement of progressive ideals.

I agreed with Ben’s view of the case, noting that it was peculiar to be penalized for not supporting something which was currently not even legal.

But although I’m not in favour of people being punished in this Stalinist way for expressing what are really fairly mild opinions (the opposition wasn’t even to gay marriage per se but to gay marriage in church) I see no problem in a campaigning organization such as Stonewall holding a ‘Bigot of the Year’ contest.

News of the nominations has been greeted with disapproval by some, including the blogger Cranmer, and it seems that this has been making some of the sponsors antsy.  Barclays and Coutts have threatened to withdraw their support for future events.  Here is the Barclays statement:

“Let me be absolutely clear that Barclays does not support that award category either financially, or in principle and have informed Stonewall that should they decide to continue with this category we will not support this event in the future.

“To label any individual so subjectively and pejoratively runs contrary to our view on fair treatment, and detracts from what should be a wholly positively focused event.”

Cranmer describes the nominees thus:

They have all spoken out against government plans to redefine marriage and want marriage to remain defined as the life long, exclusive commitment between a man and a woman – a position shared by up to 70% of the population…

However Stonewall’s claim that the nominees have not been picked because of a simple difference in views seems correct.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the UK’s most senior Catholic has described gay marriage as a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right” and has campaigned vigorously against any change in the law – a letter condemning gay marriage has been read out in every Catholic church in Scotland.

Former Ulster Unionist MP Lord Ken Maginnis has described gay marriage as ‘unnatural and deviant’.  He has even described homosexuality as a ‘rung on the ladder’ towards bestiality.

Simon Lokodo is the Ugandan ethics and integrity minister.  He has been responsible for banning NGOs perceived to be supportive of gay rights.

Alan Craig, of the Christian People’s Alliance, has compared gay rights supporters to stormtroopers – particularly offensive given the Nazis’ persecution of homosexuals:

Having forcibly – and understandably – rectified the Versailles-type injustices and humiliations foisted on the homosexual community, the UK’s victorious Gaystapo are now on a roll. Their gay-rights stormtroopers take no prisoners as they annex our wider culture, and hotel owners, registrars, magistrates, doctors, counsellors, and foster parents … find themselves crushed under the pink jackboot.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia caused distress by his comments after the death of MP David Cairns.

“Recently in Scotland there was a gay Catholic MP who died at the age of 44 or so and nobody said anything and why his body should just shut down at that age, obviously he could have had a disease which would have killed anyone, but you seem to hear so many stories about this kind of thing.

“But society won’t address it.”

Clearly there is room for debate surrounding these particular nominations – but Cranmer glosses over the real reasons why these people were singled out.  Of course it’s not surprising that a blogger with traditional Christian views shouldn’t see eye to eye with Stonewall.   But it seems a bit odd that companies who have gone out of their way to publicise their support for Stonewall should be surprised to learn that the organisation isn’t that keen on bigots.