Enter your email address to receive our daily LGBT news roundup

You're free to unsubscribe at any time.

Stephen Fry attacks Church ‘extremists’ who oppose marriage equality in @Out4Marriage video

Post your comment

Comments on this article are now closed.

Reader comments

  1. “At least 260 species of animal have been noted exhibiting homosexual behaviour but only 1 species of animal ever, so far as we know… has exhibited homophobic behaviour… And that’s the human being. So ask yourself which is really natural.”

    Well said! And he’s making a good point about other denominations because otherwise the anti-equality voices in the church will win simply because they shout the loudest.

    1. ...Paddyswurds 6 Oct 2012, 1:10am

      I think it is a much higher figure than 260 . last time i read anything on the subject, it was almost 500. Some scientists say it is inherent in all mammals.

  2. Robert in S. Kensington 5 Oct 2012, 12:30pm

    Well said, Stephen Fry. Love the analogy and a very important one too. Thank you.

    I fail to see how the church can win, Iris, just because it may scream the loudest. Let’s not forge, the extremists are in a very small minority indeed and hardly representative of a population of roughly 60 million. The C4M petition yielded a meagre1.5% of the population, not nearly enough to have any influence, plus legislation isnt’t and shouldn’t be based on polling numbers. I’ll concede one thing, the opposition is well organised and motivated. The equal marriage supporters aren’t but that’s no indication that we won’t have equal marriage. We will have it whether the naysayers like it or not.

    1. Speaking to people I’ve noticed that some repeat the lies told by some ‘christian’ institutions as fact. These are straight people who aren’t particularly interested in equal marriage and don’t seem to know that much about it except what they hear or read. People have stated quite confidently that churches will be forced to marry same sex couples, for example.

      I don’t think the church will win ultimately either, but it does annoy me when the propaganda machines of some religious groups pump out lies and it’s swallowed up as fact by the general public (along the lines are ‘Christians are forbidden from wearing crosses’). Some of these religious organisations are big and powerful and seem to get the opportunity to promote their agenda without being questioned. I think if the general public saw more churches coming out in favour of equality, they might stop and think about equal marriage and realise that it’s not something that’s an attack on freedom of religion, but quite the opposite.

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 5 Oct 2012, 3:29pm

        I agree, Iris. Someone needs to challenge them with a good rational, logical argument. I don’t expect much from any of our MPs to do that, but it would be great if just one of them had the courage to go after them. Cameron and Clegg are far too deferential in my view. Religious opponents don’t care in the slightest if the please or offend given their hateful rhetoric, yet one someone takes them to task, they play the victim card. It’s about time that stopped and put the bigots in their place. I want to hear more vocal support and participation in the public debate by the Quakers, Unitarians Liberal and Reformed Judaism. It is they who can take the wind out of the opposition’s collective sails because it is they, more than any of them can claim that their religious freedom is being abused by their fellow believers in those denomimations strongly opposed. It has to be reinforced with forceful words. That is when the British public will realise that equal marriage is not a threat.

        1. “Cameron and Clegg are far too deferential in my view.”

          Agreed. I do wish they’d correct the churches and remind them the discussion is about equal CIVIL marriage which is none of their business.

          1. Robert in S. Kensington 5 Oct 2012, 5:36pm

            Eactly right, Iris and it can’t be said enough.

          2. Spanner1960 5 Oct 2012, 8:34pm

            Hear hear.
            Not just Cameron and Clegg, but Milliband as well should state categorically VERY loudly that the church is not at threat at all by same-sex marriage, and nobody is being forced to do anything. This misinformation needs to be put to bed once and for all.

  3. Robert in S. Kensington 5 Oct 2012, 12:31pm

    ,,,let’s not forget…I meant to have said in the second paragraph.

    1. i was gonna say.. dont want to be discriminating against all those blacksmiths! lol :P

  4. Equality Network 5 Oct 2012, 12:37pm

    Some of the countries that have same-sex marriage only have civil marriages for mixed-sex couples – they don’t have legally-effective religious marriage at all. So they only have civil marriages for same-sex couples too. They are Belgium, the Netherlands, Argentina and Mexico.

    All the other countries that have same-sex marriage have a choice of civil or legally-effective religious marriage ceremonies. They all allow same-sex religious marriage by those religious bodies that want to do it. They are Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Canada, parts of the US and South Africa.

    The Scottish Govt plans to allow religious same-sex marriage (by those religious bodies that want to).

    Only the UK Govt proposes to BAN religious same-sex marriage in England and Wales, while allowing religious mixed-sex marriage. It’s not equality!

    1. My understanding is that in all European countries that were under the Code Napoleon only civil marriage is legally binding, religious marriage is a matter of choice and has to be undertaken in addition to a civil ceremony: am I wrong?

      1. Tim Hopkins 5 Oct 2012, 1:06pm

        You’re right, and that applies to Belgium and the Netherlands. It will also apply to France if they introduce same-sex marriage. The other six European countries that have same-sex marriage do have legally binding religious marriages, and allow religious groups to do legally-binding same-sex marriages if they want to.

        1. I think you will find that the new law in Portugal (May 2010) only permits civil marriage between people if the same sex. Anything that a church chooses to do has no legal effect and is only therefore a blessing of the civil ceremony.

      2. Robert in S. Kensington 5 Oct 2012, 3:31pm

        Correct, Rehan. France is a brilliant example of that. If only we’d adopted the same system. That’s the problem when we have a state church, a very bad thing indeed.

        1. Indeed, the CofE need to get out of the marriage business altogether, if only to save face and cling to it’s bigotry a little while longer. We don’t need a state church

  5. But I do rather wish people would stop harping on about religious marriage, at least until we have equal civil marriage. It’s just muddying the waters in my opinion.

    1. Tim Hopkins 5 Oct 2012, 1:04pm

      Of course it’s up to people in England and Wales whether they want to campaign to allow religious same-sex marriage, and not for me in Scotland to say. But I would suggest a couple of points:

      1. The fact that the UK Govt has announced it will only allow civil same-sex marriage for England and Wales seems to have done nothing to prevent conservative religious voices opposing it as strongly as they can.

      2. One effect of going for civil marriage only in England and Wales will be that both ends of the religious spectrum will be unhappy with the legislation. The conservatives will oppose it because it allows same-sex marriage, and the Unitarians, Quakers, etc will not be happy because it does not allow them to do same-sex marriages. The latter are key partners in the campaign for equal marriage here in Scotland.

  6. The problem with mentioning churches in this context is that it gives them the opportunity to jump up and down and scream (lie) that churches are going to be compelled.
    It also reinforces the idea that they somehow own marriage, even though most heterosexuals do not have church weddings.

  7. I dsagree Rehan-the reason that the CofE and the rest oppose allowing even OTHER FAITHS to have religious marriages is because if this were to happen-churches like the CofE would appear even more bigoted and homophobic! They don’t want their religious bigotry to be highlighted in that way.

    1. Certainly it would make more sense to just leave it up to individual faiths or venues to decide for themselves whether or not they’ll perform religious SS marriages, but I don’t think it’s helpful debating this now, it’s more important to get equal civil marriage established first.

  8. Freedom of religion demands that religious groups who want to provide same sex marriages must be allowed to do so.

    1. Yes-I agree-and this is probably going to be the difference between the Conservative and Labour/Lib Dem approaches to this issue.

      1. Spanner1960 5 Oct 2012, 8:35pm

        The Tories are simply worried it could open potential EU lawsuits demanding religious same sex marriage.

  9. Not sure that “attacks” is the right verb.

    “Chldes”, maybe. Gently “mocks”, perhaps.

    1. I missed your comment previously, you beat me to it by miles.

  10. George Broadhead 5 Oct 2012, 6:34pm

    Despite his rightly stressing that religionists will not be forced to carry out gay marriages and that those who want to should be allowed to, it is worth pointing out that Fry himself is an atheist and Humanist. He is one of the British Humanist Association’s most celebrated “Distinguished Supporters” and was a vice-president of the Gay & Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) untile it recently became part of the BHA.

  11. Spanner1960 5 Oct 2012, 8:41pm

    Stephen has got the whole thing in a nutshell, and I wholeheartedly endorse his comments, particularly regarding those religious institutions that wish to hold same sex marriages, but would be restricted from doing so. This matter still remains discriminatory,and they should be allowed to marry same-sex couples should they so wish.

    However, playing Devil’s advocate for one moment, what is to stop somebody taking the churches to the European courts to complain of inequality?
    Some kind of structure and understanding between the government and the church needs to be in place to prevent this. I am all for equality, but churches should not be forced into this situation. Until this matter is firmly addressed, I think we could have a fight on our hands.

    1. There is no such danger; the convention provides for religious freedom.

      It would work in the opposite direction though – if marriage is allowed for a class of people but churches are not allowed to marry them, then that would be against religious freedom. If the government creates that situation it would just mean 3 more years, or so, of the hatemongers campaigning against it before the court ruled. Obviously that is to be avoided if possible, so the law needs to allow religious marriage in the first place.

  12. The actions of stephen Fry are honorable, and we need more men and women with backbone against evil hatred and abuses of human rights and constitutional rights, istead of weak ass people to hate klans who does not even care about them either and are terrorist, the nations families must join together and stop all forms oaf racism and bigotry, the atrocities they cause, as well, WE HAVE A LITTLE BOY IN EAGLE SCOUTS IN SA N FRANCICSO WHO HAS B EEN ABUSED BY THE BOYS SCOUTS AGAIN AND THEY REFUSED HIS EAAGLE SCOUT AWARD BECAUSE HE WAS GAY, , HE IS A HONOR STU;DENT, THIS IS CHILD ABUS ES THE CPS MUST GET IN VOLVED AND ACLU AND LAMDA LEGAL , GAAY AND LESBIAN TASK FORCES AND LAWYERS FOR WHAT THEY HAVE DONE TO THIS CHILD THE BOYS SCOUTS MUST BE SUED ON BEHALDF OF THIS CHILD S TRAUMA THEY C AUSED , AND PEOPLE FIRED, THE PRESIDEDNT OBAMA MUST GET INVOLDVED AND HAND THE BOY HIS HONOR AWARD AS A S IGN THAT HE IS NOT GOING ALONG WITH THIS EVIL HE MUST SHOWUP ON SERIOUS

    1. ...Paddyswurds 6 Oct 2012, 1:07am

      Have they released you again CARRIE.. We have so missed your rants …not

      1. When the bucket of blood tips over… get out quick!

  13. Gay people pay the same taxes as everyone else, if we’re to be treated like second class citizens and not get the same rights as everyone else, then reduce our taxes accordingly.

  14. ...Paddyswurds 6 Oct 2012, 1:05am

    I know there will be those who disagree, but is it not time legislation was enacted to silence these extremists and force them to confine their bigotry to their “churches”??

  15. The broken comments system won’t allow a reply to Robert in S. Kensington so:-

    Such a shame Fry wasn’t able to face talking about Equal Marriage. Gay Marriage is a quite other concept; we need and deserve equality.

  16. The right-wing have moved, it seems, to saying that we are set to destroy marriage for everyone by making it about about something other than a man and a woman. We need an answer to that. Saying that the premise is homophobic and transphobic isn’t enough.

  17. “Stephen Fry attacks”?
    In the most mild mannered fashion perhaps.

  18. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Even if it means disagreeing with the distinguished Mr. Fry.

    I AM for forcing churches to marry same-sex couples, against the will of the bigots running them if necessary. I fail to see how we can have full equality any other way.

    A homophobic shopkeeper is not allowed to discriminate in selling goods to gay people, however deeply he’d like to.

    A homophobic employer is not allowed to discriminate in hiring gay people, however deeply she’d like to.

    A homophobic florist or limo hire company or reception venue or caterer or tailor is not allowed to discriminate in providing their part of a gay couple’s wedding ceremony. Nor is a civil registrar. However much they’d like to.

    So WHY, why on earth, for what possible reason, does a church get a conscientious exemption where none of these other institutions do? Because they hedge round their bigotry with demonstrably ridiculous superstitious nonsense? Because they wear dresses and funny hats?

    1. The fact is that we must hold churches and mosques and synagogues and the like to exactly the same standards we hold every other institution and service provider in our society. To do otherwise is to give religious groups special and undeserved privileges simply for being religious groups. Religious conviction is not enough to exempt people from our murder laws, from our rape laws, our theft laws or any of our other laws. Except, apparently, our goods and services provision equality laws. We wouldn’t let someone get away with murder because they sincerely believed their god had mandated it. We wouldn’t let someone steal or rape or cheat others because they sincerely believed the angels said it was okay. Why is equality somehow lesser in the eyes of the law?

      And not all equality, just ours. Just LGBT equality. Because nobody is saying that churches must be explicitly protected from having to marry mixed race couples or disabled people or the elderly and infertile.

      No more I say!

    2. As to the august Mr. Fry’s analogy with the permission we currently afford churches to refuse to marry divorcees, it holds up as an analogy, but does not make the case he thinks it does. Because that license to discriminate against the divorced is also immoral, unacceptable and wrong.

      Would we allow a shopkeeper to refuse service to divorcees? Would it be considered acceptable to refuse a person employment on the grounds of divorce? Of course not. And a religious sect’s activities should be treated no differently.

  19. Civil partnership gives all gay and lesbian people a way of expressing their sexuality in a committed relationship. But it will never be equal to hetero marriage and we can’t teach our future generations that lie. Marriage is a union of a man and a woman for the purpose of creating the next generation. Tell me how gay marriages can do that in the same way and I’ll be converted. Until vive la difference, but don’t try to pervert the truth.

These comments are un-moderated and do not necessarily represent the views of PinkNews. If you believe that a comment is inappropriate or libellous, please contact us.

Top commenters this week

Latest stories

See all