Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Bigotgate II: Marriage Equality And Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg, a man who has been completely behind marriage equality for as long as the issue has been discussed (yes even before most LGBT politicians!), has sadly annoyed the anti-equality folks with his use of that highly charged word "bigot" in a draft speech.

Even more sadly he then removed that word from the actual speech and assured everyone he doesn't think they are bigots if they oppose marriage equality.

Peter Bone, Tory MP, had this to say:

“Nick Clegg has got to explain himself and apologise very rapidly, this is not the way the deputy prime minister behaves.”

I'd definitely say that it was very bad politics to use that word, especially as it has only been two years since the original bigotgate. And it isn't true that every marriage equality opponent is a "bigot".  A very small number are simply confused as to what is being proposed (many seem to think the churches will be forced to marry people they don't want to, a justifiable thing to be concerned about but not actually true). But I think the use of such a strong word is hardly something the anti-equality folks should be upset about. Shall we take a look at some of the things people who should know better have said about us recently?

Cardinal O'Brien refers to plans for marriage equality as follows:

Their proposal represents a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right.

Grotesque. Such a nasty word. Peter Bone, of course, came out quickly calling for his resignation. Oh wait... no.

Lord Maginnis said:

“Does that mean that every deviant sexual practice has to be accommodated? Will the next thing be that we legislate for some sort of bestiality?”

Peter Bone obviously found this unacceptable and distanced himself from these comments. Oh wait... no.

Then there was the Tory MP who said this about marriage equality.

“Wouldn’t it just be very simple to write back and say, ‘Marriage is between a man and a woman so this is completely nuts’?”

Hardly the measured tone one would expect from a Tory MP on this. I'm sure Peter Bone was there telling his colleague to behave more appropriately given the sensitive and serious nature of the subject and the strong beliefs on both sides of the issue. Oh wait... that was Peter Bone! 

Two wrongs don't make a right, but those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones!

When anti-equality folks get as annoyed about the sort of over-the-top comments above as they do over the use of the word "bigot", then we'll accept they may not be bigots. 

Nick Clegg should have been more careful with the words he chose, that goes without saying I think. I may not think he is the Lib Dem saviour, as I once did, but I know on this issue he is a principled and decent man who has strong views on this subject. Just as they do with our opponents, those strong views sometimes get the better of him. You can't really blame him for that. 

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

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