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Law Society bans anti-equality conference organised by World Congress of Families

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  1. In 2004 the World Congress of Families held a conference in Mexico City, “The Natural Family and the Future of Nations: Growth, Development and Freedom” was the theme of the conference— this sounds benign and uncontroversial; in reality, it’s a strategic camouflage for a familiar set of favorite ultraconservative causes: an intolerant version of heterosexuality and marriage that precludes recognition of gay unions, is anti-abortion, anti-contraception and anti-sex education.

    Speaker after speaker warned that the survival of the family is imperiled. The culprits are the usual suspects: “radical feminists,” single mothers, divorcées and homosexuals.

    And the solution? Government intervention, of course.

  2. Good on The Law Society for taking this stand, we need more companies to be making this kind of statement.

    1. Yeah, three cheers for censorhip :/

      1. There would be no need for censorship if CC had showed responsibility and adhered to the policies of the organisations whose premises they wished to use.

        They face the consequences for their behaviour. I would have thought lawyers were aware that behaviour, decisions, choices and actions all have consequences. In this case the consequence was being barred from using the premises.

        Interestingly Minchiella Williams states they have no plans to move to another location, which suggests that they were not really bothered about the conference and were more interested in creating publicity (preferably something where they could play the victim and scare monger about). Such is the deception and falsehoods of Williams.

  3. Oh here we go again. On a par with incest…..when the f*** are these idiots going to stop with this!!

    1. They won’t, since it’s a deliberate tactic to incite homophobia.

  4. Spanner1960 12 May 2012, 4:32pm

    Christian Concern said “This statement is highly political, highly charged and wholly inappropriate… A lot of lawyers will be very alarmed by this and ashamed of their regulatory body,”

    Absolutely. What the hell would the Law Society know about the legal processes in Britain? Much better to leave it to some fictitious deity and do what the good book tells us.

    1. Christian Concern my a**e! I am more concerned that those people claim to be christians in the first place

  5. Have you noticed how groups that abhor true freedom love to incorporate the words “freedom” and liberty in their opening statements.

  6. One of the directors of the World Congress of Families is RObert Patterson. Patterson is a bigot.

    “… We have read of major cutbacks in the programs of the Dept. of Public Welfare, including slashing 100,000 children from medical assistance (20,000 of whom were returned so far after the state admitted errors). The Dept. will also soon cut off food stamp benefits to most people who have $2,000 in assets. So who was the brains behind these cutbacks???
    Robert W. Paterson was serving as a $104,000 a year top advisor for the PA. Dept. of Public Welfare. He has a long history of writings in archconservative magazines that attacked the very idea of public assistance. His writings also show extremely outdated and warped views of women. Once questions were raised, he resigned today. He sounds like the insane general from Dr. Strangelove who was always talking about his ‘precious bodily fluids’. Excerpts from today’s Phil. Inquirer article: “The Inquirer began asking about Patterson’s side

    1. job as editor of The Family in America… In the journal, Patterson has weighed in on … what he described as a woman’s ideal role in society: married and at home raising children. For instance, he wrote about research that he said showed that if women wanted to find “Mr. Right,” they should shun birth control pills; and if they wanted to improve their mood, they should not insist that their men wear condoms lest they miss out on beneficial chemicals found in semen. In last year’s spring issue of the journal, Patterson co-authored a piece summarizing and reviewing recent studies related to families. Among them: a recent study suggesting condom use robs a woman of “remarkable” chemicals found in semen that have been shown to elevate mood and self-esteem. What’s more, the study found that “semen-exposed women” perform better on concentration and cognitive tasks, Patterson reported. He also referenced a 2004 study that suggested birth- control pills weakened a woman’s “natural sense

    2. of attraction to men who would be a good biological match and enable her to conceive easily and bear healthy children.” And should the “pill-popping young lady” go off the pill, she may no longer be attracted to the man she chose when she was on it, the study said. In the journal’s summer issue, Patterson … advocated scaling back assistance programs such as Medicaid, food stamps, the children’s health insurance program, and cash assistance for the poor.”

      Further info on Patterson here:
      http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/inq-blinq/Is-Tom-Corbett-running-a-state-or-a-circus.html

  7. The devious and manipulative Andrea Minchiello Williams is alleged to have said:

    “This colloquium was intended to be a genuine open debate on the issues, constructing a case for marriage in the public sphere, and they seem to be closing it down. Of all the places in society where you might expect freedom of debate to be protected, the regulatory body of the legal profession would surely be at the top of the list! This move is highly political, highly charged and wholly inappropriate.”

    Minchiello Williams would not recognise open and honest debate or what is appropriate if it hit her in the face and said “Hello, I’m open and honest debate and I am appropriate”

    1. “This move is highly political, highly charged and wholly inappropriate.””

      This sounds like a projection of their own activities.

      1. well its a debate, debates tend to be controversial. Typical bigot claiming freedom of speech doesn’t recognise other people’s freedom of speech.

  8. The Law Society state in their diversity policy that:

    “as a body representing and regulating a profession, which supports individuals in asserting their legal rights and accessing justice, we want to go beyond compliance and be at the forefront of embracing equality and diversity. We want to promote best practice in the profession and encourage the profession to be sensitive to the specific needs of the different communities”

    and that it seeks to

    “Actively promoting equality and diversity with its partners and stakeholders”

    They also state they will be fearless in pursuing diversity and challenge and confront inequality where it occurs.

    That seems to be the action they have taken in this instance.

    Congratulations for acting with honour and integrity, Law Society. I am sure many solicitors support and applaud you.

    1. As a gay law student who will be applying for Law Society membership next year I completely applaud their decision and taking a stance against bigotry.

  9. “We regret the need to take this step… I can assure you that it is not something we do lightly.”
    Lightly? screw lightly.
    Just hammer it home.

    1. I hope that by regretting it – their intention is to say that they regret that Christian Concern have shown such bigotry that forced the Law Society to take strong, decisive and honourable actions to confront and challenge the insidious and inhumane approach of CC.

  10. Robert in S. Kensington 12 May 2012, 5:31pm

    Well done, The Law Society. Bigotry has no place in the UK. Those bloody right wing American religious hate groups should be barred from the UK altogether.

  11. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2012, 5:40pm

    Fact: Had these kind of remarks been made towards women or because of the colour of someone’s skin this would have caused, rightly, absolute outrage with high profile court cases to follow.
    -
    So religious extremists… when do we stop being ‘the easy target’ to your bigoted behaviour and discrimination.
    -
    Treat us like human beings or carry on screaming the victim because at the end of the day your rantings will alienate more and more of society away from you and hopefully onto the side of a better, fairer, equal society of which you will have no purpose. Boy will they play the hard done by victims then, eh?

    1. Jock S. Trap 12 May 2012, 5:41pm

      PS… Well done to the Law Society. Good to see common sense and decency winning through.

      1. If you are referring to the gay community as “the easy target” just who are playing the hard done by victims? Not everyone who believes in the traditional role of the family in society is a religious “extremist”. Gender and skin colour are not in the same category as sexual orientation so your “Fact” is irrelevant. If people want to get together and celebrate marriage as they understand it what right has anyone else to say they can’t?

        1. Two points Sandy

          Firstly, orientation race and gender are not choices – therefore stigmatising on grounds of any of these issues is of equal significance and equally abhorrent.

          Secondly, if people want to celebrate their monogamous love in a civil marriage – what right has anyone else to say they can not?

          1. Hi Stu,

            Thanks for your response.
            I’m not aware of any evidence that sexual orientation is determined genetically? From what I’ve heard though there are many people who have changed sexual orientation during their lives in both directions. This suggests to me that there is some choice involved in at least some cases. And even where one cannot choose who they are attracted to, they can still choose who they actually have relationships with. I’m not at all saying that anyone should choose to have a relationship with someone they don’t love, I’m just pointing out that I don’t think there is any evidence to suggest that sexual orientation is in any way comparable to race or gender. I agree though that none of those things affect the value of a person.

          2. In relation to your second point, your question didn’t answer my original question!
            I will say this: If we are talking about two people who love each other wanting to make a commitment to a monogamous relationship, I think that’s great! And if that was all that was involved I would be in favour of gay marriage. Unfortunately I think there is a wider impact which I am not so keen to accept. Gay rights activists talk often of how gay children are bullied in school and are afraid to be themselves. I’ve never heard anyone complain about religious kids being bullied but I for one was often afraid to declare my beliefs as a child for fear of being ridiculed – and I was! The way that the ever more powerful Gay rights lobby berate Christianity that will surely only become worse. Of prime concern to me is the way sex and sexuality is discussed in schools. Sexual rights activist groups would have children bombarded with confusing information at a very young and impressionable age.

          3. Perhaps they already are. I saw a news clip about a school in california where 7 year olds were told they could be a boy or a girl or both or neither! I’ve also heard that there is a push to make it illegal for parents to opt-out of sex education on their childrens behalf. Unfortunately I don’t believe that introducing gay marriage will satisfy gay rights activists. They will continue as they have been doing to try and ensure that anyone who does anything but wholeheartedly support homosexuality is mocked, labelled bigots, sacked from their jobs, sued, and whatever else. The sum of all the things that concern me result in the breaking down of the traditional family. After recent riots across the country David Cameron blamed the weakening of our nations families for the trouble. I am not saying gay marriage causes riots at all, but I believe everything must be done to defend the traditional family unit as the most essential part of our society.

          4. I’m not sure if I’ve managed to articulate my views well or not. I appreciate that my thoughts may cause offence to some. That’s not what I want to do but since you asked the question I felt it was appropriate to explain some of the reasons for my views. I bear no ill will towards any person and I am wholeheartedly against any kind of bullying or abuse. I being a Christian am upset by those who use their beliefs as an excuse to afflict others. I believe that we should all stand up for what we believe in and do it in a respectful way. It’s a shame that so many people can’t disagree with each other without being hostile.

  12. Solicitors should be very proud that their professional body is prepared to do what is right. Well done The Law Society.

  13. Paddyswurds 12 May 2012, 6:06pm

    This the website of this cult led coven of evil. It has to be seen to be believed
    ;http://www.worldcongress.org/WCF/wcf_principles.htm

    1. David Blankenhorn is president of the Institute for American Values in New York City. Just one of the manyhomophobes on that particular website, and I cite, Blankenhorn was presented to the court as an expert witness in Perry v. Schwarzenegger by the proponents of California Proposition 8 (2008) In the decision filed on August 4, 2010, Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that Blankenhorn was not qualified as an expert witness, and that his testimony was “unreliable and entitled to essentially no weight.” Behind the smiling faces pure unremitting hate for LGBT people. I’m sure we will never forget that will we?

    2. I see the WCF is one of the western crackpot organisations interviewed on Voice of Russia’s English service programme “Religion and Society” presented by the odious Vakhtang Kipshidze, an employee of the Russian Orthodox Church. His programmes pander to the right wing religious lobby and can be heard on line here: http://english.ruvr.ru/radio_broadcast/52447006/

      VOR as a foreign broadcaster would normally be outside of Ofcom’s remit but it is transmitted on DAB in London in which case it becomes subject to Ofcom rules on balance etc. I would urge people to report these broadcasts to Ofcom if they are heard on DAB or Sky/Freesat either on the VOR channel or on WRN.

  14. The Law Society is not the regulatory body of solicitors; the Solicitors Regulation Authority does that. The Law Society represents solicitors, a job it seems to be doing very well.

    1. shes a barrister, socially removed from her clients as she only sees them in court to represent a case which she has only had the files of for a short period of time, she doesn’t know nor care about them the same way solicitors do.

      1. A barrister who when representing cases for Christian Concern and other similar groups regularly loses.

        But then she is merely using the legal tools at her disposal to create a publicity stunt and masquerade her falsehoods as legitimate.

        She is bringing the legal profession into disrepute and should be held to account for it.

  15. This bloody Minchiello Williams has only the most tenuous grip on reality and honesty.

  16. I love how she accused THE LAW SOCIETY of England and Wales of “misreading” the Equality Act – no I think you find that the professional body has it right and you the individual have it wrong. Im pretty sure that ANY court would approve their stance over yours.

  17. Is this group linked to the one that book a conference at an Oxford college? There seems to be a pattern of trying to gain respectability for what may be linked to hate groups in America, by using the premises of respected institutions in this country.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 12 May 2012, 8:46pm

      I think it’s quite possibly the one. I think the Home Office ought to look into this . These American hate groups have a very sinister agenda trying to infiltrate the social and political life in the UK and other English speaking countries. They’ve already penetrated Uganda and several other African countries and have links to that equally sinister cabal in C Street, Washington, DC. Some of them are politicians, others are wealthy religious business entrepreneurs.

  18. What an utterly poisonous bunch. Good on the Law Society.

  19. It should be a criminal offence for foreign hate organisations to try and whip up homophobia in this country.

    Let’s get a better extradition treaty, and extradite some of these b@stards.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 12 May 2012, 8:39pm

      They’re also aiding and abetting the Christian Institute and C4M and I wouldn’t mind betting that some of the aid is financial. These religion based hate groups in America apparently have an unendless supply of money. I think Theresa May ought to investigate and issue a ban on foreign interference in our internal affairs.

  20. Laura Jones 12 May 2012, 8:27pm

    As a student having just completed my LLB (and currently on my LPC) I must say a big congratulations to the Law Society of England & Wales for this very positive step ^^

    There’s often a lot of discussion about the legal sector being the least diverse and toletant of liberation/minority issues so I feel this can only be good :)

  21. As well as legal help LGBT people need to start their own police like force to police the streets to make them safe for gays and others today. Maybe something like the Guardian Angles who wear the red beret to help protect people on the streets from criminals and thugs. They could call themselves the Gay Guardian Angels and wear a rainbow color beret. Now that Presidents and governments are coming out to support LGBT people the evil anti gay people are getting more aggressive, usually some Christian type of mentally disturbed person who is full of hate for almost anybody who is doing better. Like that Christian terrorist in Norway that killed all of those children to start a revolt to take over the world for the Christian religion.

    1. The Trayvon Martin shooting shows why vigilante justice is dangerous and irresponsible.

    2. This is why vigilantiism does not work:

      http://www.southwarknews.co.uk/00,news,25736,185,00.htm
      (Threat of imposing mob rule)

      http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/latest-news/top-stories/bat-attack-vigilante-dad-is-spared-jail-1-4535288

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-foyle-west-17987713
      (An anti-drugs group has urged parents of young people who take drugs not to send them to be shot in Londonderry.)

    3. Are there groups of people going around attacking LGBT people in the streets?

      1. That’s awful… Thanks for answering my question Stu.

  22. Conor McGahon 12 May 2012, 9:54pm

    Free speech and open debate should always be to the fore when an issue such as this has been opened up to the public, but then we in the gay community are members of that public also and are entitled to the protection of the law against incitement and hate crimes, to say nothing of repeated defamation.
    In shutting this conference down, I suspect the whole spectrum of civil wrongs were uppermost in the minds of the Law Society members.
    In doing so they have sent a powerful blow to institutionalised bigotry in the UK.

  23. “The nature of the content … Has been drawn to our attention” How long did that take and were they willing to take the shilling so long as nobody noticed? Does the even organiser have no brain as to what might be a sensitive event? I’m always suspicious when I see the words “have been drawn to our attention”, a passive usage that suggests no actual person was involved.

    1. The fact that they hid the nature of the event from their venue, shows the length they go to.

  24. As a legal professional myself i’m glad to see the Law Society have taken this step.

    In my opinion equality in the legal profession has often focused very heavily on gender and ethnicity, rather than all protected groups but it’s good to see the Law Society have been so proactive with this and taken a stand in a way that isn’t too political (despite what they may say)

    Oh and by the way, the Law Society isn’t the regulator for solicitors…person clearly doesn’t know what they are talking about….. its the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (clue is in the name)

    1. shes a barrister, what does she know? lol.

      1. She “knows” the Earth is around 5000 years old, she said so on TV.

  25. This would be one of the few occasions I’m proud of the Law Society. They did the right thing in denying an audience to this vile organisation.

    I believe in free speech, and that even those with (what I would call) hateful and prejudiced views should be allowed to spout their bile; mainly for everyone else to see how ridiculous they are.

    However, if they are denied the support of “credible” organisations, they wither and die.

  26. ‘…Telegraph takes a line distinctly with the organisers of the conference, and describes the Congress itself as “a US-based non-religious group which promotes traditional family values.”…’

    yet to meet an atheist, humanist, agnostic or even secularist promoting the traditional family values in the way WCoF does

    and i guess the ‘non-religious’ label was deliberately deployed in order to give them some credibility that religious nuts are so desperately short of

    1. They are as non-religious as the C4M – or in other words, they deny their religiosity

  27. I’m not following the argument here…

    Is it the case that the World Congress of Families are unpleasant people, and should therefore not be allowed to express their views?

    1. Its the case that they wanted to use the premises of an organisation that has a policy which the conference would not have been in keeping with – its therefore entirely reasonable for the owners of the property to reject their request to hire the premises.

      1. OK, thanks for the info.

      2. So do you agree that any organisation should be allowed to restrict the use of its premises in such a way? Essentially what the Law Society is saying is that we don’t agree with your views therefore you can’t use our premises to discuss, express, or promote those views. If that’s the case then surely it has to work the other way too? Say for example a couple running a bed and breakfast should be allowed to say, what you intend to do on our premises is not in keeping with our policy therefore we must reject your request for a room. I would guess fairly confidently that if this was the other way around most of the people commenting on this article would feel VERY differently about an organisations right to refuse the use of their premises. Say for example the Law Society’s policy supported traditional family values and they rejected a booking for a gay pride event because it was not in keeping with their policy? The problem with this kind of thing is that it DOESN’T work both ways.

        1. It is the premises of an individual organisation and they are entitled to restrict the use of their premises in any way they feel is appropriate in keeping with their policies and procedures providing those procedures and policies are legally sound.

          1. I agree, providing the laws are just.

  28. The Law Society claims to be supporting diversity, but wouldn’t diversity demand that they allow the expression of varying opinions? If we are aiming for a society that is accepting of all beliefs then surely we have to allow others to disagree with our views? If not then we are bigots just as we accuse them so readily of being.

    1. It would include all opinions being exercised with responsibility which it is clear from the publicity of the conference was not going to be the case in this instance

      1. I’ve had a quick look at the WCF website but not specifically the conference publicity. What was it about their expression of opinion that was irresponsible?

    2. Scott Rose 24 May 2012, 6:26am

      Equality in marriage means that people may marry somebody of their same sexual orientation. No person in favor of same-sex marriage rights is against heterosexuals marrying. Get it?

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