Stonewall’s chief executive has denied former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and a gay Catholic opposed to equal marriage rights have been nominated for this year’s Bigot of the Year award.
The Spectator’s Steerpike said today that Ken Livingstone and Milo Yiannopoulos were “to be nominated” for the award, referring to it as the ‘Homophobe of the Year’ award.
Describing Yiannopoulos as ‘flamboyant’, it suggested his March blog post ‘The lingering stench of gay marriage’ contributed to his nomination.
The blog post said the “horror of human rights law” would be used “to force churches to allow gay marriages on their premises”, so the Catholic Church “will either shut up shop and padlock its churches or simply refuse to conduct marriages at all.”
Steerpike said he would, however, be up against former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, so he “need not worry about winning”.
Mr Livingstone, who has been historically more popular with the gay community for pro-gay actions as the capital’s mayor, made comments considered controversial by some during his unsuccessful campaign to be re-elected this year.
In a New Statesman interview he condemned “hypocrisy, like some Tory MP denouncing homosexuality while they are indulging in it”.
He added: “Well, the Labour [MPs] have all come out . . . As soon as Blair got in, if you came out as lesbian or gay you immediately got a job. It was wonderful . . . you just knew the Tory party was riddled with it like everywhere else is.”
Mr Livingstone also drew attention when he said: “A gay banker would get his penis cut off in Dubai.”
Many were quick to defend Ken Livingstone from suggestions of homophobia.
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell wrote on PinkNews.co.uk: “In the early 1980s, as leader of the Greater London Council, he pioneered gay rights policies that most MPs opposed at the time. It took many of them another 20 years to embrace gay equality. Ken supported the lesbian and gay community at a time when most other politicians did not. He deserves great credit.”
Ben Summerskill, Chief Executive of Stonewall said today neither Mr Livingstone nor the gay writer was, in fact, in line for the Bigot of the Year award.
He tweeted: “Sadly [...] both fictions in this report were completely invented by @Spectator_CH.”
Steerpike responded: “Not what your staff say…”
Mr Summerskill wrote back: “Impossible for them to have said it ‘cos simply not true.”
Stonewall’s Bigot of the Year Award goes to the public figure who has most “gone out of their way to harm, hurt or snub lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the last year”.