Stonewall, Britain’s largest gay rights charity, has named the UK’s most senior Catholic, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, for the title of “Bigot of the Year” as part of its annual awards ceremony.
The title was announced at the Stonewall Awards on Thursday evening, which took place at the V&A museum in central London.
Upon nominating the cardinal, Stonewall wrote on its website: “Keith O’Brien has been a prominent opponent of marriage equality and made headlines with deeply offensive comments about same-sex couples”.
He’s stated that same-sex relationships are “harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing” and compared equal marriage to slavery and child abuse.
The cardinal was a staunch critic of government plans to introduce equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, describing the measure as “grotesque,” earlier this year.
Stonewall added: “Under his leadership the Catholic Church in Scotland has pledged to ‘declare war’ on marriage equality and has committed an additional £100,000 for the fight”.
Cardinal O’Brien beat Lord Ken Maginnis, the former Ulster Unionist MP, who referred to same-sex marriage as “unnatural and deviant behaviour”, as well as Simon Lokodo, the anti-gay Ugandan Ethics and Integrity Minister, who presided over a homophobic crackdown of LGBT orginisations in Uganda back in June.
The former leader of the Christian Peoples Alliance, Alan Craig was also nominated, but despite criticising Stonewall, Mr Craig said he would like to have attended the awards ceremony, however he was not present at Thursday’s event.
Just two days ago, Stonewall defended the “Bigot of the Year” award, saying no one would be nominated for the category simply for disagreeing with the charity, or with the LGBT community, after two banks threatened to pull their support from the awards ceremony.