I should like to say a big fluffy THANK YOU to those of my chums inside the House of Lords Club, out in the real world, here in the blogophere and (fluffy help me!) even Friday morning's Fart for the Day on the The Today Programme(!) who have supported the Fair Play for Gay Daddies Regulations (Northern Ireland) and seen off the demands of a small group of people who want to dress up UNFAIRNESS in a religious frock.
Despite having their objections thrown out of court already, they were determined to have another go, but in the end they were outvoted nearly three to one.
While the outside of the House saw a gathering of the so-called faithful, inside their Lordships got down to debating the whimsical charm of holidaying in Northern Ireland.
The opposition to equal treatment was led by this old buffoon who apparently used to be the Conservatory Lord Chancellor. Important note to Conservatories, Mr Balloon's guru-ette, Ms Pollyfiller Toytown, does NOT approve of this sort of thing!
The thing is: there IS no clash of rights here.
The RIGHT to freedom of religion means that Christians are COMPLETELY ENTITLED to believe any thing that they want to (even stuff like creationism that happens to be provably nonsense) and obey any rules that they want to (whichever ones they want to pick and choose from the Bible).
BUT that SAME RIGHT means that Christians do not have and never have had the "right" to IMPOSE their beliefs and rules on anyone else.
So saying "the regulations aim to over-ride [my] conscientious objections" is just to invent rights for yourself that do not exist.
(But do NOT judge all Christians on the basis of this group of SHOUTY PEOPLE. From ancient times up to the present day there are also Christians who are ACCEPTING and LOVING towards Gay Daddies, and do not forget it!)
Back in the debate, Lord Skinhead of Chingford tried it on with: "The concerns which are being expressed this evening are primarily about sodomy rather than about sexual orientation - that is doing, not being."
But Lord Paddy of Ashplant replied: "The basis of our law is that we do not discriminate against someone for doing something that is not illegal. And it is not illegal."
Game set and match His Majesty the King of Bosnia there, I rather do think.
Daddy Alex points out that we have come so far that EVEN Lord Skinhead did not think he could get away with opposing Gay Daddies just for BEING!
As for people who are worried about letting Gay Daddies into their guest house because their children are there… well, which is worse, letting your children discover that there are Gay Daddies in the world, or lying to them to hide this fact? And if you are worried about your children bursting into the Gay Daddies' bedrooms then WHAT SORT OF A GUEST HOUSE ARE YOU RUNNING?!?!?!?!?
It is GOOD NEWS that Parliament has decided that everyone deserves equal treatment.
Now… who is going to tell Mr Ruth Kelly?
Excellent post, Millennium. I really enjoyed reading it (like everything you write).
The thing that upset me most, during this debate, wasn't the homophobia of a few loons in the House of Lords - it was the report on BBC's Today Programme. I don't know if you listened to it, but they interviewed a schoolteacher from a Christian school in East London, and she said:
"At the school, we question the concept of sexual orientation towards homosexuality. The Bible says that this is something that isn't right, and the Bible describes it as sin. It would concern us if we now have to teach them something completely different from what we believe the Bible to be saying. As a Christian, we love all people - we just don't agree that we should be forced or asked to teach something that's contrary to our fundamental beliefs."
Kooky as the House of Lords may be, at least they aren't bringing up our children, so there's a limit to the amount of damage they can do! But this woman is directly responsible for the welfare of young people, at a really crucial time in their lives, especially as far as their sexuality is concerned.
Somewhere between 5% and 10% of young people grow up to be LGBT, and there are also lots of straight people who go through confusion about their sexuality when they're growing up. This means that in any class of children, several will question their sexuality at some point. Any teacher who tells kids that it's wrong to be gay, lesbian or bi is guilty of seriously neglecting the kids' welfare, and potentially causing a lot of harm.
The way LGBT people are treated by the law obviously has an effect on the way they are treated in society in general, so it's crucial to push for full equality under the law - but it's the homophobia in people's attitudes, in society in general, that I think is the biggest worry, and which can potentially cause the most damage to young people.
Anway, sorry for having such a long rant on your blog - well done on a great article, and my best wishes to your Daddies.
Dear Mr Jonny, thank you for your KIND words. You are welcome to rant as much as you like!
That teacher sounds HORRID!
Daddy Alex was also driven to distraction by the The Today Programme when they had journalists explaining to each other why THESE so-called religious people had the right to be bullies - this is something to do with their strange idea about "IMPARTIALITY".
You would not expect them to go explaining why the MEN IN POINTY WHITE HATS had "Christian" point of view, would you?
There IS still a long way to go, but I think that the signs are HOPEFUL! After all, even my fuddy-duddy friends in the House of Lords Club, are getting the idea that HOMOPHOBIA IS BAD!
With the best will in the world they are not at the CUTTING EDGE of the zeitgeist, but they ARE more Liberal the The Today Programme, it would seem!
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