Here’s No.8 in our top 10 myths about gay marriage.
Myth: There are no homophobic people against gay marriage; it is a label used to stop a rational debate from people who are pro-same-sex marriage.
Bust: In a 2007 interview Ian Paisley Jnr, a minister in the government of Northern Ireland, told ‘Hotpress’ magazine that lesbians and gay men harm society. Mr Paisley, 41, who recently defended his comments on Question Time told Hotpress:
“I am pretty repulsed by gay and lesbianism. I think it is wrong. I think that those people harm themselves and – without caring about it – harm society.
“That doesn’t mean to say that I hate them. I mean, I hate what they do.”
Defence secretary Philip Hammond also defended his anti-gay marriage stance on Question Time; the reason being that he believes civil partnerships gives gay people all the rights of marriage. Chris Bryant, Shadow immigration Minister, who is currently in a civil partnership, retorted that “there has been 23 votes for equality rights for gay people, 11 of which you didn’t bother to turn up for, and the other 12 you voted against”. Philip Hammond also admitted to raising the issue of sibling relationships in a discussion about equal marriage.
The campaigns to prevent same-sex marriages are also sometimes rooted in repression and personal hypocrisy.
The most glaring recent case being that of the most senior Catholic clergyman in Britain. Cardinal Keith O’Brien was an outspoken opponent of gay rights throughout his career, condemning homosexuality as immoral, opposing gay adoption, and most recently arguing that same-sex marriages would be “harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of those involved“.
Following allegations from four men of his sexual misconduct (including one who claimed to have been a long-term partner), he later admitted that his “sexual conduct” with the four fellow priests had been “below the standards expected” of him and resigned.