Opponents of same-sex marriage are labelled as bigots, says Lord Carey
Those who support traditional marriage are being accused of ‘bigotry’ and ‘homophobia’ by those who claim to want a more ‘tolerant’ society, the former Archbishop of Canterbury has said.
Lord Carey wrote to the Times in response to an article written by Conservative MP Nick Herbert, who stated that the view of the Church on same-sex marriage was viewed by homosexuals as ‘judgmental’ and ‘intolerant.’
Lord Carey warned that it is in fact those who want to keep marriage between one man and one woman who have been subject to ‘judgmental’ and ‘intolerant’ behaviour.
He said: “It is in fact the supporters of traditional marriage who have been accused of bigotry and homophobia — the kind of intolerant and judgmental language he [Mr Herbert] talks about in his interview.
“This debate is not about the dignity and rights of gay and lesbian people, who already have the benefits of marriage through civil partnerships, but about a change in the definition of marriage for everyone.”
Freedom of Belief
Those who want to see the current legal definition of marriage retained have faced significant harassment and censure in the last few weeks, not just from isolated activists but also from public bodies.
In May 2012, Christian Concern and the World Congress of Families organised a marriage colloquium with a range of high profile speakers who were to debate the introduction of same-sex marriage.
Yet the Law Society, and then the Government run Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, both cancelled the event from taking part on their premises at the last moment, claiming that the debate breached their ‘diversity’ policies.
Further recent examples include:
- Adrian Smith, a housing manager from Manchester, was demoted and had his salary cut significantly by his employers after he questioned whether same-sex marriage was an ‘equality too far’ on his private Facebook page, out of working hours.
- A Christian bus driver, Arthur McGeorge, is currently under investigation by his employers, and could lose his job, for circulating a Coalition for Marriage petition at work during his lunch break.
- A Christian blog writer was put under investigation by the Advertising Standards Agency just for displaying a pro-marriage advert by the Coalition for Marriage.
- Anglican Lay Reader Peter Gowlland was suspended for two months by All Saints Church in Sanderstead for suggesting that congregation members should sign the Coalition for Marriage petition.
- Celebrity singer Will Young was widely applauded after saying on BBC Question Time that clergy who preached too strongly against same-sex marriage should be sent to prison.
Conservative MP David Burrowes, who publically supports the Coalition for Marriage, has received hate mail and even a death threat for his stance. He said:
“I myself have been subjected to hate mail, to accusations of homophobia, and to a death threat as well, which is just extraordinary when one is affirming what the law is as it stands and has done historically for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.”
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said:
“Expressing opposition to same-sex marriage in the public sphere can already attract a significant penalty. This is likely to get worse should same-sex marriage actually be introduced into law.
“Society is becoming ever more intolerant towards those with Christian beliefs. Yet if this rising intolerance continues, then everyone may lose their basic freedoms, not just Christians.”
“We need to robustly defend freedom of speech and freedom of belief.”
“It is time for the UK to rediscover the meaning of the word ‘tolerance’.”