Thursday, 30 November 2006

Anti-Gay Christians Strike Again

On Tuesday this week an advert appeared in the Times paid for (a full page advert in the Times is abou £25,000.00, if I remember well) by group of Christian calling themselves "Coherent and Cohesive Voice". This to protest against the upcoming Sexual Orientation (Goods and Services) Regulations (pdf file) (the SOR) which will make it illegal for anyone who provides goods, services, facilities, premises, education or public functions to someone else, to discriminate against that person on the grounds of their sexual orientation i.e. whether they are homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual. The regulations also make harassment on the grounds of sexual orientation - and not simply overt victimisation - illegal.

A consultation was launched by the government in March this year, which received, I think, one of the largest number of response ever for this type of exercise (over 2000). The responses were divided between LGBT people and moderate Christians supporting the proposed law and fundamentalist religious zealots who opposed it because it would prevent them to be as bigoted as they want to be. The advantage being slightly on the side of the supporters of the new regulations. As a result, the implementation of the Regulations, which were due to come into force in October 2006, because of the large number of responses which ended in June. The Government have now committed themselves to bringing the Regulations into force in April 2007. This means it is likely that the Regulations will be voted on by Parliament at the latest during February 2007.

Northern Ireland, however, are getting the SOR early (in the New Year). So in response to this, showing great examples of the tolerance the Christian faith is supposed to uphold, some uname zealots have decide to spend their energies and a lot of money into fighting the new law, while they could spend this in doing something more Christian and more useful.

I have not been able to see a proper copy of the advert (other than the one reproduced above) but this is enough to see that as always, they have their priorities wrong and firmly set below the belt. This law is not about sex, it is about equality, freedom and tolerance, three things that some Christians are quite happy to have for themselves but are obivously not so keen to share with others.

The small text of the ad is so bad that it prompted, Meg Munn, an Under Secretary of State (not usually the most locacious type of people) to come out and call it "innacurate", branding it "wild speculations".

Using the same weapons as those dear Christians, I have complained to the Advertising Standard Agency about the advert. Will you?

Alternately you can also contact Ruth Kelly (herself a staunch Catholic) and Meg Munn to put forward the counter-argument, condemn the actions of this pressure group and support the new Regulations.

Emails are:

Rt Hon Ruth Kelly MP
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Minister for Women
kellyr@parliament.uk

Meg Munn MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Women and Equality)
munnm@parliament.uk

While you are at it, you might ask them why the "Equalities" section of the "Communities and Local Government" departmental website doesn't appear to mention sexual orientation as part of its range of diversities.

Read further thoughts on this here (link added 01/12/07)


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