Same Sex Marriage Debate: A Report by Jane Marshall.

Yesterday, after writing about the same-sex marriage debate hosted by Soubry, I went off to an Oxjam meeting, thus unable to attend the meeting itself.

I soon started receiving some disturbing tweets and text messages from people who were there, and it sounded like things were not going too smoothly. I asked one of the attendees who tweeted me if they would write me a report on the meeting, which they kindly did. If anyone else wishes to send me some more details, please do. I’ll hand over to Jane Marshall for her take on the meeting:

Anna Soubry better than God???????: By Jane Marshall.

A tweet from Lord Beestonia prompted me to attend the Anna Soubry public meeting on Same Sex Marriage. As I strolled down Clarkes Lane behind a gay couple and walked in with two lesbians I congratulated myself on choosing to live in progressive, liberal, diverse Beeston rather than Step’Bridg’ford

But my euphoria was short lived when I entered the church hall to be met by the sea of grey, the buttoned up blouses and the rustle of The Daily Mail. 150 people, 140 Christians, standing room only. Let the battle commence.

gaymarriage

Anna stated her case well on why she supported the bill: it was a matter for personal conscience and it was just the right thing to do. No applause. She then opened it to the floor and what followed was an hour of pure hatred, bigotry & small mindedness. Talk of the deviant act, the unnatural practices, the non evolutionary behaviours undertaken by those ‘homosexuals’ was rife; they didn’t want their grandchildren taught about gay sex. Anna asked if they were referring to anal sex, an act she said that was also undertaken by men and women in heterosexual marriage but she wasn’t particular partial to it herself. The smelling salts flew out of their Mrs T handbags.

More toxic comments on how AIDs would be stopped if we got rid of gays, how gay marriage was the slippery slope to incest and how marriage should be between a man & woman solely for the procreation of children. One woman in all seriousness asked Anna if the government had considered the cost of changing all the dictionaries to include this new fangled definition of marriage. Another asked about changing all the great novels ever written. Each clarified they were not homophobic; that had met a gay once and he had seemed ok; but each stated their own brand of Christianity, bible-believing, fundamental, evangelistic, catholic priest, vicars all trying to prove that they were more righteous than the last speaker, top religious trumps.( more factions  than our local Labour party.)

Finally a lone voice spoke, a Christian who worked for the Samaritans said he knew the affects of intolerance, followed by a woman Christian preacher who helped young adults cope with being gay and a lesbian who had just got engaged to the woman she loved. The silent minority was finding its voice. Each was passionate about why they believed in this Bill and spoke about their disappointment at the ‘waves of hate’ flowing around this church hall. They wanted equality of rights, the same aspirations for all people, the legal backing of marriage that civil partnerships didn’t provide and for all people to marry the person they loved.

This meeting was a brave move by Soubry, these are her key voters in a marginal seat. The photo shows 1 empty seat where 1 man walked out saying he would never vote for her again (normally I would be giving it a hearty Here Here) but ‘So be it’ was her defiant response.

I left at 10pm, it was still going on like a bad Ken Dodd gig. The heavens opened and I heard a speaker saying she was there to represent God and this was the start of his retribution on us if we let this Bill through, the start of his damnation against us, the start of the persecution by gays against Christians.This caring, sharing God I had heard so much about tonight. As I went through the doors I saw the woman preacher and gave her a hug, grateful she had spoken out. Me hugging a Christian, cheering on Anna Soubry. God certainly moves in mysterious ways. Jane Marshall.

Post Script: We’re recieved a couple of other testimonials from people who attended the meeting, and I wanted to put these up in full. Please let us know what you think by leaving us a comment below.

I was there and as someone who is currently ‘engaged to enter a civil partnership’ (so romantic sounding, isn’t it?), it is something that I am passionate about.

The majority of people there were strongly opposed to same sex marriage, but then people are more likely to turn up complain about something than to support it. Also, holding it in a church isn’t very welcoming to LGBT people that may have had negative experiences with organised religion in the past, so they may have felt too intimidated to attend.

I have read that the meeting ‘descended into bigotry’ and I admit that it was hard to sit and listen to people saying that my love and my life is sinful and unnatural, especially when it was often born out of misinformation and prejudice. Much of what was said was offensive not just to gay people but also to anyone who has a ‘non-traditional’ family (ie have children out of wedlock/adopted children, etc). I would say though that attending has helped me to understand others’ points of view; I only hope that they can say same.

In terms of what was said, some views held on the basis of religion (or how that person interprets their religion) I disagreed with, but respect people’s right to hold them. Other opinions were misinformed, hurtful and even laughable. Still others, however were lovely affirmations that there are generous, kind people across different faiths, genders and sexualities.

I spoke about the inequality between civil partnerships and marriages, both legally and from a personal view point and a number of people came up to me afterwards to thank me for speaking and to wish me and my fiancee all the best in the future. That is what I’ll choose to remember about the night, not the hurtful views of some, but the wonderful support of others. Amy.

Anna Soubry hosted a Q&A-style debate on the equal marriage bill on Thursday. I wasn’t expecting the numbers or supporters to opponents to be very favourable, not least because the event coincided with the second eurovision semi-final. But going to a debate to have your relationships and life scrutinised, judged upon and derided by complete strangers was never going to be an appealing prospect for many.

Anna almost showed up late to the meeting, held at Clarkes Lane Methodist Church in Chilwell, due to a blown-up tyre on her car. I can only assume this was a sign from God of the evening to come. Within minutes of thanking everyone for turning up it had spiralled into a homophobic hate-fest with all the arguments I’d naively thought had been laid to rest in the 1980s reappearing. Homosexuals spreading AIDS, coming into your children’s schools, having “unnatural” anal sex, living deviant lives, comparisons with incest. Some insisted that same-sex couples could never properly be married; they can’t consummate because homosexuals apparently don’t have sex. Plenty of talk about God and Jesus, as if they ever said anything about same-sex couples marrying or everyone in this country still believes in them.

Numerous self-declared “bible-believing Christians” (presumably keepers of slaves, who eat no fat and stone their stubborn children) spoke about their persecution. Teachers no longer able to teach kids that same-sex attraction is wrong. Never mind the 80% of LGBT youth who are bullied in schools. Bibles and prayer books having to be rewritten. Just think of the cost! It all reminded me very much of the American debates prior to Obamacare. I had thought myself lucky to live in a country where that kind of hysteria and spreading of misinformation on an issue I’d assumed most civilised people would have no problem with wouldn’t happen. It seems I was wrong.

I’m a young gay man. This wasn’t a debate about a policy disagreement. It was a debate about my life and my future. I’ve been assaulted, spat at and bullied; but sitting for two and a half hours in a room full of supposedly good Christians through all those jeers and all that hatred has to be one of the most unpleasant and uncomfortable experiences of my life. A small number of other LGBT people attended, including some from deeply religious backgrounds, and spoke passionately about their relationships and desires. They happen to be exactly the same as everyone else’s there. Love and commitment. Why would anyone have a problem with that? Why would other people’s marriages disintegrate because some of us want the same rights?
I don’t think the debate should have happened, especially in a church. It wasn’t a safe space for LGBT people. Anna, to her credit, kept her cool throughout and defended the legislation. I’m not thanking her for her commitment to a yes vote. Doling out or accepting gratitude for simply acknowledging other people’s lives, futures and expectations as equal to anyone else’s is an absurd concept. But her handling of that meeting and resilience in the face of such hysterical hostility really is worth some respect, on this issue at least. Stewart.

46 thoughts on “Same Sex Marriage Debate: A Report by Jane Marshall.

  1. Nick Palmer says:

    What a great report. Well done, and well done Anna too.

  2. David Watts says:

    A good report from Jane. May I make it clear as a Christian that those preaching hell fire and damnation do not represent the majority of Christians, just the loudest ones. Those of us who actually remember we worship a God who is love rejoice at the expression of his love and don’t condemn people for it. If we Christians concentrate on getting the love out there the world would be a far better place. I’ve said before to Christian groups that when we start placing ourselves in judgement on other peoples lifestyles then we do Jesus a great disservice.

  3. Claire Lawrence says:

    Great report – really illuminating, and chilling.

  4. Tamar says:

    Thanks, Jane.
    And thanks, Anna Soubry.
    Equality should go without saying, but it usually doesn’t.
    Religious belief has no place in matters of the law. Marriage is a legally binding contract. It’s all well and good that people are free to have their own beliefs (they’re lucky enough to have that freedom ratified by law), but their honking on as though they have the right to dictate laws for everyone based on their own personal religious beliefs.

    For anyone to quibble about it because they see it diminishing marriage somehow; that because men can marry men and women marry women, married heterosexuals won’t be seen as MORE married is really quite astonishingly pathetic.
    If you care *that* much about the marital status of OTHER PEOPLE I would suggest it is you who has a problem with the definition if marriage, not the rest of the world.

    And if you’re still not sure – consult your bible if you really must.
    As someone raised as a Jehovah’s Witness (but not one any longer) I’d recommend Luke 6:27-31
    “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

  5. Thank you to our intrepid reporters, and to Anna Soubry for standing firm in the face of the bigotry. I look forward to hearing her account of the evening to see if she has anything else to add.

  6. Michael Carré says:

    Jane – thanks so much for this write-up of the evening. Stewart – I’m very sorry I wasn’t there to support you, unfortunately I was unable to attend the meeting as I have exams at university in London. I emailed Anna last evening to reiterate my disappointment at her, in my opinion, foolish and naive decision to hold a public meeting, but I’m glad to head she stuck to her guns nonetheless. I predicted all along that the Christian Taliban (a clear minority of actual Broxtowe constituents) would hijack the meeting. Utterly shameful and quite frankly completely irrelevant to a debate on the legal, not spiritual, definition of marriage. I was rather cross to again see Anna giving false equivalency to an imaginary fear of persecution in the heads of the religious fanatics and the very real hatred toward LGBT people in today’s newsletter.

  7. Julian Owen says:

    How about arranging another open meeting to discuss this topic, perhaps better publicised, with both sides and ‘don’t knows’ invited? Then those people who are lost in darkness, blinkered from the joy of experiencing the love to be found between all types of people would have the opportunity to open their minds and learn the glorious truth – that most people in Beeston support gay marriage. Thank that there are many Christians more enlightened than this nowadays. It’s refreshing to see a politician putting principle before political expediency.

  8. Sarah Sharples says:

    Well done all for a great blog and a sensible and measured response in the replies. As a christian I was horrified to hear about the (not very Christian, in my view) reactions to the debate last night but the response here and on twitter has restored my faith in human nature.

  9. Clive says:

    I was the “lone Christian” and 35-year Samaritan who spoke. I also made it clear that I am also straight, to emphasise that some straight 70-year-old Christians support this Bill. If I may summarise the main point I was making: I expressed my great distress at hearing my Christian brothers and sisters saying such hateful things, and my disappointment that after 2000 years it’ s about time that they stoppped disobeying Jesus’ great commandment to love one another and stopped hating gay people who are also made by God in His or Her own image.

  10. kath says:

    I was present at the meeting and the term “waves of hate” chimes with my sense of what it felt like. I am used to speaking in public but it was very hard to speak in that setting, even though all I did was to explain the way Quakers had reached their decision to celebrate same-sex marriages in the same way as opposite-sex marriages. I had far less at stake than some of the young people who showed great courage in declaring their wish for equal marriage with their partners; it was these young people and a couple of the Christian speakers mentioned earlier who impressed me with their patience, their forbearance and their exemplary understanding of Christian love.

  11. Josh Pilkington says:

    An interesting read, thanks for the article. Sadly it would seem that this debate, as many others, has completely missed the mark – often the “same sex marriage” discussion tag seems to be a thin veil for irrelevant homophobia and the main matter falls by the wayside. The cost of printing new dictionaries? Truly absurd.

    My take on this matter is that the opposition from certain religious institutions is not going to go away on this subject (if only from small pockets of resistance within). Do I stand for equal rights in every way between the sexualities? Absolutely! But, I certainly wouldn’t be looking to get married in a church, knowing that somewhere there was opposition or with the feeling that I was standing on the toes of people who are entitled to their own views. Besides the legal implications, the meaning of marriage is a sign of devotion to another person, both as a couple and an outward sign to friends/family/anyone who matters to you. As long as we’re free to make equal commitments, have equal legal footing, equal job opportunities and can rely on protection from the authorities from homophobic attacks just as any other kind of abuse/assault, in my view you could call the partnership anything you want and it can be performed wherever. The ridiculous kind of opposition demonstrated in the account of this debate should not provide any form of stumbling block to a legal foundation for same-sex couples. Once the right and fair legal processes have been put in place, then you can entertain trying to communicate with such bigots to get acceptance on a more social or religious ground.

  12. Rich says:

    It’s difficult not to feel pity for them. Holding onto such hate and anger must cause them a great deal of pain. Or at least a little constipation…

    They really need to watch Maurice Williamson’s speech on the subject of gay marriage in the New Zealand parliament. It really does say everything that needs to be said: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gl8oKO7BAuU

    Judge not, and all that jazz.

  13. luke says:

    I’m in favour of gay marriage (or at least as in favour of it as I am of heterosexual marriage), but I think that some of the arguments proposed here, especially those about “equality”, aren’t very compelling.

    I recommend Michael Sandel’s second 2009 Reith Lecture on this subject (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00l0y01). He points out that simple appeals to “equality” are not good arguments in favour of legalising gay marriage. Such arguments could also be deployed in favour of consensual bigamy, consensual incest, or indeed the possibility of marrying oneself, but few people are in favour of legalising such things (but perhaps they should be). Sandel very persuasively argues that if you want to make a compelling case for gay marriage you need to work out what marriage is for, what values it honours, then argue that gay marriage satisfies these aims and values.

    In particular, if you conclude that marriage is primarily about raising children you should be against gay marriage (and against any kind of marriage involving post-menopausal women for that matter) because it doesn’t honour the aim of the institution. But if you think that marriage is about the societal recognition and celebration of loving relationships you surely should be in favour of gay marriage (and consensual bigamy I suppose?). In that sense, it’s not totally ridiculous for the Christian in the audience to think that gay marriage is a step towards legalising incest: if incestuous relationships are genuinely consensual and loving then presumably similar arguments about the desirability of societal recognition and celebration apply.

    Personally, I’d just get rid of marriage entirely, and let people live how they want.

  14. Chris says:

    I feel sorry for those with such little knowledge and closed minds who hold these outdated views on love and relationships. Despite what they may think, they will actually live theirs lives with a little something missing.

  15. Jim Dunn says:

    Congrats to the authors of the reports and It’s also quite nice to find something that finds me feeling supportive of Anna S (cripes!!!!).
    The tone of the “Christian” anti gay marriage people reminds me of what the late Jimmy Reid said about the Scottish fundamentalist preachers he had to listen to as a youngster, which went something like “……they weren’t experts in the word of God, they were experts in the Devil and Hell Fire….”, as they preached fear and persecution to all who did not adhere to their narrow view of life. Well done to those who stood up to the “damners” at yesterdays meeting.

  16. I wonder how typical Broxtowe or Beeston are. Quite a bold step for the Government to take if they are!

  17. Nick Palmer says:

    The Government isn’t takeing a risk in terms of majority opinion – it’s one of those issues where most people agree, but a minority really hate it.

    I notice David Watts’ comments upthread. I think I remember you saying you personally have doubts about the introduction of gay marriage, David? Or have I misremembered that? Obviously not with the hellfire rhetoric that we’ve been reading about, but if you do disagree with it, it’d be interesting to hear your side of the argument.

  18. Caroline says:

    It never fails to shock me how narrow minded some people are. How disappointing that in 2013 there are still people that feel this way. I’m happy to say that the younger generation seem to be turning the tide, and gay teens are not persecuted or belittled as they would have been some years ago. I only speak from personal experience of my 15 year old son’s friends. My son is not gay but has 2 or 3 gay/curious friends (by “curious” I mean unsure) and they are accepted and supported. Hopefully this is a sign that he youth of today are been brought up better, to respect each other regardless of sexual preference.
    Oh, and we are now living in “Step-Bridge-Ford”, which is also a diverse and strong community. I have to say Jane’s slur on our community somewhat spoiled what was otherwise a very well written article.

  19. Joan says:

    There is a big danger in assuming that people who turn up to meetings are representative of local opinion. This is especially true about meetings where people on one side of the argument assume that what they want is already in progress or going to happen. This particular meeting would inevitably attract mostly those vehemently opposed to same sex marriage and very few of those in support. Most people don’t do meetings and those that do are by their very nature a minority.

  20. Pete Radcliff says:

    Maybe it’s some reassurance that Soubry isn’t a gay-hating, UKIP-inclined Tory MP for there certainly are a good number of those. The natural home of people at that meeting opposing gay-marriage would normally be the Conservative Party. I know Labour, but also think that the Lib Dems, would never want their anti-gay vote.
    But what intrigues me is – why did Soubry organise a public meeting on that subject?
    Soubry is a super-loyal advocate of her leader’s and the government’s policies – from the destruction of the welfare state to the appalling bedroom tax. Let’s not have any illusions in her as a compassionate MP.
    But she is she worried about haemorrhaging of Tory votes to UKIP. Was she hoping to stem that by attempting to reason with such people? If so, whilst the press coverage may have made some such people think, the meeting itself clearly didn’t.
    Unfortunately the Tory party has promoted and played up to the filthy prejudices of the Daily Mail for so long, on everything from immigration, benefit-recipients, the EU through to gay-marriage. It is not going to be easy for Soubry and the Tories to slow that reactionary bandwagon down as it heads for UKIP.

  21. stevebarber says:

    Was it asked how many of the audience lived in Broxtowe constituency? I haven’t found these sort of opinions to be typical around here and from the views expressed in this blog that would seem to be the case.

  22. Nick Palmer says:

    I think there’s quite a few who are against gay marriage, though more in the Tory hinterland than Beeston and not usually in swivel-eyed loon style. I’ve had a couple of people who said they’d vote for me if I stood again if I promised to take a “more helpful” line on the issue – I declined, so I guess they’ve wandered off to UKIP.
    When we introduced civil partnerships there was quite a strong backlash at the time – I remember a few emails telling me I was trampling over decect people etc., and others more in sorrow than anger.

  23. Clive says:

    Here’s a thought: one person did indeed say that the Bill would lead to incest, and several expressed their outrage at the Government changing the definition of marriage as laid down by God. Have a look at Genesis chapter 20 verses 2 & 12. Abraham (the founding father of the Israelites) was married to his sister ! Now, you’d think God would disapprove of that, but in fact later on in chapter 21 verse 2, the stamp of approval was given by “Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age”. And what about the chap in 2 Chronicles chapter 13 verse 21 who married 14 wives. Hmmmm; it seems that marriage hasn’t always been as unchanging as some people like to think.

    • Julian Owen says:

      The situation was neatly summed up to me by a relative recently: “Is there not an element of hypocrisy from some who oppose this bill, considering the C of E was effectively founded by a man who had a very poor track record when it came to the sanctity of marriage – i.e. Henry VIII”.

  24. Frank Robinson says:

    “A sea of Grey” etc … how AGEIST!!!
    I was there, and the words ‘hell-fire’ or ‘damnation’ were never uttered. The meeting strayed from the definition of marriage and ended swimming in the porridge of gay angst. Disappointing.

  25. Appy Days says:

    The faith of some seems to stand in the way of the love of others. The love of some seems to offend the faith of others. Is there any hope? “Three things will remain – Faith, Hope, and Love. The greatest of these is love.” I hope that answers the question.

  26. Tamar Feast says:

    Personally I am incredulous that serious consideration is given to the contents of the Bible in reference to what is legal in this country. Gay people are, in all other respects, EQUAL to heterosexual people. Perception is not law – your perception of gay people, based on your faith in a god and the content of the bible, does not change the fact that, in this country, they are equal. This has no bearing on *your* marriage. It has nothing to do with incest. Or [big sigh] marrying yourself.

    The sooner this is clarified by it being *legal* for a gay couple to marry, the sooner everyone would just have to get used to the idea. Y’know, like that time women got an education, their own bank accounts and the right to vote, and black people stopped being bought and sold, and started using the same… everything! as the white folks.

    Anyone who doesn’t think that a gay person is equal to a heterosexual person has an argument founded entirely on their own personal belief, and should have no place in legislating on this matter. I think it really is as simple as that. Don’t get me wrong, I do understand their point of view – some of my best relations are homophobes – it’s just that they should recognise their conflict of interests and bow out of proceedings. Fortunately, by debating these issues in the way Soubry initiated here (and it’s been one of only two incidents of her rebelling) we soon get an idea exactly who they are…

    • Luke says:

      I think you’re wrong about the incest thing. Marriage is about the state showing official approval of consensual private relationships. It is far from clear to me what business it is of the state to be involved at all in deciding what type of relationships are worthy of this recognition, but if you’re in favour of marriage at all you have to decide which relationships deserve this status and which (if any) do not. Your position seems to be that heterosexual relationships and homosexual relationships are worthy of state approval because everyone is equal, but incestuous ones aren’t because some people aren’t equal? I don’t see how you can justify that.

      • Tamar Feast says:

        Well, Luke, let me help you: As far as I’m aware, it is still ILLEGAL to have incestuous relationships, never mind marriage. Two people in an incestuous relationship are equal to any other two people, of course. But they are committing an offense.

        My position has nothing to do with ‘worthy’ of approval. But the fit continuation of the law on equality.

        If you have a particular vested interest in legalising incest, go for it – but somewhere else. It’s a separate, unrelated battle to this one.
        Incest, and other criminal sexual offenses, have nothing to with establishing the right of two gay people to legally bind their relationship in the same way as straight people.
        For the record, I’m not personally in favour of Marriage at all. To me it is largely superfluous, except in relation to matters of security, pension and power of eternity etc. etc. But that’s just me.

      • Luke says:

        Response to Tamar: Your argument that the issue doesn’t arise because it is illegal seems very peculiar when the discussion concerns whether or not the law should be changed.

        The issues are clearly connected because the point of principle which justifies both homosexual and heterosexual marriage — that loving consensual relationships are worthy of societal celebration — also applies to incest. That is fairly obvious surely?

        (As an aside, it seems that England is fairly unusual in making incest illegal. According to Wikipedia it’s legal in Argentina, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand (mostly), France, Holland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Turkey, China, India, Israel, and the Ivory Coast).

      • Tamar says:

        To Luke:
        My point is that being gay isn’t against the law and incest… oh, I give up.

        And “power of eternity” should be ” power of attorney”. Which makes much more sense. Phew.

      • luke says:

        To Tamar: For someone in favour of changing the law, you seem to take it remarkably seriously.

        Still. I guess your position means you’re in favour of legalising consensual bigamy because having relationships with multiple people is legal?

      • Tamar Feast says:

        keep guessing, Luke; keep guessing.

      • Appy Days says:

        While I’m not averse to exploring philosophical issues, and Michael Sandel is very good indeed at provoking thought in that area Luke I agree, incest and other items that have been brought up in this debate are not immediately relevant to the legal changes currently underway. In a working democracy (and our system does a decent job by and large) laws change when people are ready and want a change. i.e. it is the level of demand for the practice that drives changes, not the intellectual correctness of philosophy. There can be no assumption that supporters of the change favour any additional changes whatsoever.

        The suspicion is that these issues are being brought up because the defenders of the status quo realise they have lost the main argument on this specific legislation and are trying to find things to frighten the horses.

      • Luke says:

        Yeah, I basically agree with most of that. But isn’t a bit depressing to think that laws should simply reflect the current prejudices of the day? Isn’t there a role for politicians and other public figures to lead public opinion towards a more rational and, to use your words, intellectually correct position?

  27. I struggled both with the meeting, and this report of it. So I blogged my thoughts. I’d be grateful if you wanted to comment over there. Thanks.

    Reflections on one specific instance of the ‘gay marriage debate’, and the wider debate, as the MP’s go to vote on it in the Commons again today. Comments welcomed, preferably at the blog-site.

    http://admiralcreedy.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/reflections-on-thea-gay-marriage-debate.html

    • BeestonVoter says:

      Thomas, you say in your blog that you see a great deal of apathy – I see a large number of people for whom same sex marriage is just not an issue. Most people I know have no strong opinions over it and are happy to ‘live and let live’.

      I think also that your Christian views are just that. Yours. Just as the views of those who are in favour of same sex marriage have their views which are just as valid. The latter however are more progressive though in terms of equality and humanity and in promotion of ‘love’ (a concept I gather that Jesus was quite fond of promoting).

      Perhaps really the problem is that we all have our own world views, and for us, these are our values. In this case they seem to conflict. However, we live in a secular country and the law represents this. Things change, institutions change, luckily for us.

  28. Julian Owen says:

    Dear Matt
    I notice that you edited my first post in this topic to remove a comment about thanking your own deity. I had tried really hard to avoid offence, even editing out the references to the Spanish Inquisition and the tendency of senior members of the cloth to enjoy wearing dresses and other camp regalia, but I don’t mind being edited at all. It’s your blog, although I enjoy the irony of my mild comment being excised by someone who wrote such an entertainingly graphic piece on Anna Soubry’s swearing habit. However, I was appalled and mortified that your amendment made the second-from-last sentence in my post ungrammatical. Please consider correcting this.
    Keep up the good work.
    Julian Owen

    • beestonia says:

      Hi Julian
      No idea how that happened! I have never, and will not ever, edit a comment. The only explanation I can offer up is I sometimes approve comments via my Blackberry, and in reading it through I somehow deleted a bit of it. Huge apologies: I’ll edit it accordingly. Can you send me the original text and I’ll sort it.
      Matt

      • Julian Owen says:

        Hi Matt. No worries. I think a bit of moderation is a good thing on a blog, although preferably it should be intentional. All it needs is “Thank that there are many…” changed to “Thankfully there are many…”. I don’t have a copy of the original and its probably best if we spare everyone any more of my facetious comments for now.
        Regards
        Julian

  29. What I find incredible is where these bigoted people all appear from.
    I work in a testosterone fuelled 95% male environment and I’m pretty certain even there I’d find it hard to find someone there who disagreed with equal rights.

    It really is time for equality for all. We need to stop pandering to the minority half of whom seem to believe in a story made up by a tribe of goat herders.

    Zeus will strike them down! oh wait he’s not real ..

  30. I also find it amazing that christians are moaning about leading to incest – have they read the bible?
    can’t really see the connection between Gay and Incest anyway. Does it not happen in ‘normal’ families?

  31. Firstly, congratulations Jane on bringing the issue of equal marriage to the residents of Beeston. I was first made aware of your article via a gay friend in a long term committed relationship with his partner who lives in the area.

    My first thoughts chimes with yours Jane on your statement “I don’t think the debate should have happened, especially in a church. It wasn’t a safe space for LGBT people.” I completely concur! Who on earth, with any sense of awareness, would expect gay people to take part in a ‘debate’ on marriage in such an unfriendly space? Hats off to those LBGT people who did attend – I admire and salute your courage especially in view of the obnoxious comments being made by so called ‘loving’ christians!

    Interesting that Thomas Creedy [in his blog post] brings into play the notion of incest… As I understand it, prohibitions on incest are in fact designed to protect against genetic abnormalities being created by closely related family members producing offspring. Since gay couples do not produce offspring, this idea is a non sequitur from the off…

    The same Mr Creedy then waxes lyrical about the cost of implementing marriage equality. As far as I’m concerned, a cost cannot be put on equality and besides, it’s a spurious argument. Do we hear socially/politically aware ‘christians’ make any mention of Google’s £3.2bn of UK sales [that] are routed through Ireland, the company paid only £6m of [UK] corporation tax. Or as an avid reader, I’m guessing that Mr Creedy is as amazed as I am that Amazon, despite £4.2bn of UK sales, the company paid only £2.4m in corporation tax in 2012.

    It’s difficult to know whether the so called ‘christians’ attending the above meeting were actually ‘christian’ or used it as a convenient cover for their largely homophobic attitudes. In my personal experience, evangelical fundamentalists are a very small minority within the church (although like any empty drum, they make an awful lot of noise) and people I am acquainted with who do go to church roll their eyes at the mention of fundamentalists. Indeed, more than one personally know to me has left the church over their bigoted attitudes.

    For gay people reading this who have been poisoned by bigotry, bullying and prejudice, I would like to say: You’re beautiful and unique wherever you are in your life story. Stay true to yourself and apologise to no-one for who you are – the people who won’t accept you are probably not worthy of your time. And try to remember It’s getting better… http://youtu.be/Gndel15MoJ4

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