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Brendan O’Neill: Equal marriage is an elitist campaign with no roots in the public

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  1. Lying prick

  2. Why doesn’t he get a proper job? He is the epitome of everything he claims to be against.

    1. Journalism is a respectable career, Mundo.

      He is against homosexual equality, clearly. He’s certainly not the epitome of a supporter of homosexual equality.

      1. “Journalism is a respectable career” – about as respectable as politics.

  3. … and who is he that his opinion matters one iota? The stench of homophobia just ooozes from his pores.

      1. David Jordan 14 Feb 2013, 10:08pm

        Cece, you’d think a PHD holder would realize that his situation is not the same as being raised by a married same sex couple and that his problems were the result of socity’s homophobia. Though hate does tend to blind you to logic and reason, and he seems like a classic self-loathing bisexual Uncle Tom.
        I notice he teaches American literature and classics, not child development or psychology or any field that qualifies him to comment on child welfare. Would he happen to teach at a Christian University by any chance?

    1. He has more or less the same views on racism……….
      “Broadly libertarian, he considers efforts to combat racism in football to be “a class war” driven by “elites’ utter incomprehension of the mass passions that get aired at football matches” Referring to high-profile cases of racial abuse and alleged racial abuse, he argued, “these incidents and alleged incidents are not racism at all.”

  4. Just make note of his name will you.
    Brendan O’Neil?

    He wouldn’t be an Irish CATHOLIC by any chance?

    Thats the first thing I look at these days.

    The clue is in the name!

    1. Exactly what I was thinking! However, I’ve nothing whatsoever against the Irish, just because they’re Irish (I’m Northern Irish, unfortunately!), or anything against Catholics, just because they’re Catholic. I’m only against bigots, religious or otherwise (whatever their religion may be – Catholic/Protestant/Muslim/bla bla bla).

      Who on earth is Brendan O’Neill anyway? How on earth did he manage to have his views heard by the ‘Public Bill Committee’? I think it’s just ridiculous that this bigoted non-identity is being entertained by those making our laws. The world has obviously gone completely mad.

        1. I will not open a link without an explanation of what it refers to. However, it currently has a ‘-2′ rating so I can guess that it’s something I’d rather not look at. :-)

      1. He is an ignorant pig regardless of his opinons on gay marriage.
        He is fully supportive of unemployed people being made to work unpaid for their benefits. I bet he wouldn’t. No doubt he believes the vast majority of unemployed people actively choose to be unemployed like the vile Tory unelected government does.

        1. still got more votes then the unelected labour government

    2. Lucy O'Sullivan 15 Feb 2013, 1:49pm

      As an Irish person I can tell you I’m totally ashamed of this man, and a recent poll which was published on this site states that 75% of Irish people support gay marriage.

    3. He’s an atheist actually. God-forbid you prejudice anyone!

  5. He accepts that the majority of the public support gay marriage yet he then claims that the struggle to give gay people equal marriage rights is not rooted in public… How does that make sense? He’s clearly contradicting himself. So what if the majority do not consider it among the most important issues? That’s normal. People probably care more about the economy and et cetera. But it’s not like lawmakers are delaying taking any action regarding, for example, the economy because of their attempts to give gay people equal marriage rights. So what’s the issue?

    This man is clearly a vile homophobe. He’s arguments do not stand up to scrutiny.

    1. His “not rooted in the public” remark reminds me of the way the media describe strike action. They talk about the effect on the public by strikers as if the strikers aren’t also members of the public. Like they have appeared from Mars.

      Well Brendan I am a member of the public and also gay so shove that up your bible and sit on it.

      1. Now now…no need to be so bigoted and narrow-minded just because you find his comments offensive.

        Here, let me help you with the dictionary definition of ‘bigot': a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion. (from dictionary.com)

        Twitless, you may not have thought of it, but you’re a bigot.

        You’re just as bad as he is when you make such stupid comments.

        Also, you assumed that he was religious. He’s an atheist.

  6. Paul Essex/London 14 Feb 2013, 7:35pm

    Why exactly was this man, who is nothing more than a journalist who has taken it upon himself to comment on this issue, invited to give evidence?

    1. PantoHorse 15 Feb 2013, 9:45am

      Quite. Who is he? Why have we not had headlines about his view before? How did he get invited to give his ‘evidence’?

  7. It’s amusing how all these straight cis conservative commentators are suddenly experts on radical queers and the Stonewall riots.

    Apparently this guy’s motivation is that he thinks that opposition to racism and homophobia and so on are all just ploys by “elites” to demonise working-class people.

    1. David Jordan 14 Feb 2013, 9:28pm

      Because of course, there are no working class LGBT people, no LGBT poverty, no LGBT homelessness.
      The man claims to be a libertarian but is shouting off that gays are bourgeois, he claims to be an atheist but is campaigning along side fundamentalists, I don’t think the man can string two coherent thoughts together.
      Let’s remember why the first paper the man worked for folded; it lost a massive libel suit.

  8. I’m sorry, wasn’t it the elitists the ones who voted against the marriage bill.

    Everyone was able to express their opinion online, no need for riots.

  9. Another vile bigoted homophobe. At least this one is trying to pretend to be intellectual about his hate. But fails, of course.

    1. Does that make you a vile bigoted homofascist then? Seeing how you deride anyone who disagrees with your views and want everyone instead to tow the gay line?

      Dictionary definition of ‘bigot': a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

  10. Utter crap. I’m sick of these lies being told that ‘no gay people want to get married anyway’. The Telegraph ran a similar article saying that it was only a few posh people in London who wanted to get married blah blah.

    These are all pathetic, spiteful LIES. They keep making up new ones depending on who they’re trying to fool. How stupid do they think people are?

    What a nasty little man to resort to lies to try to limit LGBT rights, and how nice of him to say ““People are tolerant of homosexuals, which is a wonderful, great thing, ” Ooh,I’m just prostrating myself in humble gratitude that him and people like him are glad I’m ‘tolerated’.

    I don’t want to be tolerated O’Neill. I simply want the same rights as you.

    1. Lucy O'Sullivan 15 Feb 2013, 1:45pm

      I wish I could like that last paragraph 20 more times, well said!

  11. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

  12. Brendan O’Neill said “People are tolerant of homosexuals, which is a wonderful, great thing, but they are confused by the priority that is given to this issue”.

    People are tolerant of homosexuals, are they, Mr. O’Neill? Please follow PinkNews for just one week, will you, and learn of the continual intolerance from which homosexuals in the UK suffer.

    In my own street a neighbour recently sold his house to a gay couple since the gay couple were willing to pay the high price he was demanding. He, however, once the sale to gay couple was secure went up and down the street quietly apologising to the heterosexuals resident here for having sold to “yet another pair of men”, like my partner and myself.

    That’s not tolerance, Mr. O’Neill. It’s further evidence of the deep-seated homophobia that has been expressing itself very loudly of late and which is extremely hurtful.

    But I’m wasting my time. The above story hasn’t pulled your heart-strings, has it? Why? You’re a homophobe.

    1. I bet you’re pleased he’s moving out. What an idiot.

      1. Well, yes, indeed, we are pleased he and his wife are gone, but of course the idiot has only now gone and transplanted his homophobic self in another street, where there will surely be another lesbian or gay couple, or a number of lesbian or gay singles for him to offend. He’s no doubt still sharing the same homophobic sentiments with his new heterosexual neighbours.

  13. Started off writing for Marxist and Communist press and has moved to the far right with only his homophobia (however he might try to dress it up) remaining consistent.

    1. Indeed, the far left & far right are just different sides of the same coin….Just look at Peter Hitchens.

      1. He’s a former member of the RCP (the Living Marxism lot). They’ve spent their careers trying to make it appear that there are divisions in the left-wing of politics by speaking out like this. Best ignored, as they always have been.

  14. Marriage has been primarily about mutual love, companionship, sharing and property transfer for well over a century. The idea that it is primarily about procreation is one that hasn’t been current or popular since Victorian times, and never one that has been fundamental to the institution. This, in case he hasn’t noticed, is why marriage is open to those who do not and do not wish to have children.

    There has never been a stipulation in English marriage law that children be involved. It would be curious indeed if the legal instruments framing the condition made absolutely no impact on something that is its fundamental premise.

    Besides which, even if “companionship” were a new idea – that doesn’t make it wrong. Having marriage about companionship makes it infinitely nobler and more special than having it about something as pedestrian, biological, crude and mundane as heterosexual reproduction. The birthing of spawn is something far less elevated and praiseworthy than companionship.

    1. Indeed, given that love of parents and children happens anyway, and it’s the ties between individuals of the same generation that need to be cultivated and worked on and celebrated, it is no surprise that marriage has been for a long time and most certainly should continue to be about honouring, recognising and legitimising the love of people for one another.

  15. What utter rubbish! who asked this idiot to give evidence, was it Mr Burrowes or the Catholic Church?

    I thought the committee was supposed to be scrutinising the bill line by line. If I wanted to know what the grassroots LGBT people are saying then I wouldn’t pick Brendan O’Neill to give evidence on that, how ridiculous. What kind of answers ould you expect from him!

    1. As well as scrutinising the bill line by line, public bill committees also take a limited amount of evidence which is what they are doing here.

  16. I don’t know much about this hateful prick, can anyone fill me (& anyone else) in?

  17. Robert in S. Kensington 14 Feb 2013, 8:40pm

    Vile, disgusting man! What would he know about discrimination or being marginalised. He’s never had any rights denied him. Someone should ask him if CPs are equal to marriage and if so, would he support heterosexuals having them? available. I think I know what his answer would be and it wouldn’t be for opening CPs for straight couples. It would force him to admit that they’re not the same as marriage even if the rights are similar.

  18. Common sense 14 Feb 2013, 8:45pm

    Brendan o’neill started his career writing for Living Marxism and now writes for Spiked, its successor. These are the organs of the Revolutionary Communist Party of which he is still a member. The RCP, as opposed to its more legitimate Marxist opponents, sees its sole purpose as to seed dissent in the left. As such O’neill pens polemic denunciation of climate change science, abortion, race relations and gay rights. Any issue he sees has public support, he seeks to drive a spike into it from the left. In effect though he is entirely in cahoots with the far right by doing so.

    His articles ar sometimes syndicated elsewhere which is I guess the reason he has been invited on to the panel. But people need to know what his huge agenda is.

    1. Thanks for that. I posted a similar reply to a comment above before I saw your comment, which is much better expressed.

    2. Excellent point. His articles are always featured on the Anglican Mainstream website, a vicious homophobic group. He focuses obsessively on gay issues in his Telegraph column.

    3. Whilst I agree that the RCP are a dubious lot, I don’t see how Common sense can claim that any of the other Marxist parties are “more legitimate”. They’re all hopeless idiots.

  19. “…. there were water cannons…”
    The plural of cannon is just cannon (unless you’re a Yank). Clearly not the most articulate chap (considering that he’s taking part in a Parliamentary discussion). No surprises there, then.

  20. johnny33308 14 Feb 2013, 8:56pm

    Yet another apologist for bigotry as an institution! FAIL! Equality IS a major issue in every society, even if this person does not think so….what a moronic argument he postulated!

  21. I always used to write off Brendan O’Neill as a former ultraleft, workerist bore cum swivel-eyed, rightwing Zionist imbecile, which puts him on about the same level as his fellow traveller at the Institute of Ideas, Claire Fox.

    But actually, after his admonishment of survivors of child abuse and domestic violence in the wake of the revelations about Jimmy Savile and Cyril Smith, it occurred to me he is also deeply unpleasant, creepy individual.

    Now with his shameless defence of North Carolina’s Amendment One under his belt and this latest asinine diatribe, I guess he can add ‘swivel-eyed reactionary’ and ‘homophobic bigot’ to his CV too.

    1. He’s been at it again in the Telegraph today denying abuse of women by the Catholic Magdalene Laundries.
      http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/brendanoneill2/100202781/catholic-bashers-have-embellished-the-truth-about-abuse-in-catholic-institutions-its-time-to-put-the-record-straight/

      His very language today about ‘tolerating homosexuals’ betrays his bigotry. He can stuff his tolerance. Who needs his approval?

      1. David Jordan 15 Feb 2013, 12:31am

        The man likes to call himself an “atheistic libertarian”, I’ve a better term for what he is; False Flag Operative.
        He is little more then a homophobe and apperently sees fit to add appologist for rape, torture and enslavement to that.

  22. “There were mass protests, there were year-long boycotts, there was fighting, there were water cannons, people were arrested and put in jail.”

    So if we do this, riot and get arrested, then the bill will have more credibility? I don’t think so.

    There are more civilised methods of expressing your opinions now (such as online) without the need for violence, which he seems to forgets to mention.

  23. He seems to be saying that until there are riots and massive social protest then equality can be safely ignored? As if social progress can only be considered if there is mass upheaval. That’s quite bizzare

    1. Yes, quite the cretin. Thank god we can discuss this without wanting to poke each other with sticks. But I suspect if I met Mr O’Neil he would not want to physically fight me – cowards often turn up as bullies.

  24. He seems to be saying that until there are riots and massive social protest then equality can be safely ignored? As if social progress can only be considered if there is mass upheaval. That’s quite bizarre

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 14 Feb 2013, 10:04pm

      Not bizarre considering his communist leanings.

  25. Martin Spalding 14 Feb 2013, 9:52pm

    Brendan O’neill appeared in Australia a year or so ago on the opinion/debate show “Q&A”. After seeing him there i’m not surprised at his latest efforts. His modus operandi seems to be ruffling feathers as much as possible and tapping into his inner contrarian. We also have a phenomenon here of hard left Marxists/Maoists switching to the hard reactionary right, and o’neill seems to fit that mould quite well. Moderation is not part of their kit-bag!

  26. Who does he represent other than the Barclay brothers of the Daily Telegraph.

  27. The majority of the public support it. The majority of the public don’t think about it on a daily basis. The majority of the public are not gay. The majority of the public are in dire economic circumstances first and foremost.

    All of these basic things are true, yet I fail to see how they have any relevance to whether or not the policy is implemented.

    It has widespread support during one of the most devisive and turbulent terms of government of the past decade or two, and there’s the parliamentary time to get it done and dusted *shrug*.

  28. Robert in S. Kensington 14 Feb 2013, 10:07pm

    If there had been riots and unrest, he would have been the first to condemn it, bigoted fool.

  29. You people are incredible. Talk about hate: pot, meet kettle.

    O’Neill is actually an atheist republican who happens to support things like free press and sovereignty of the demos. He even supports the welfare state, far from being “far right” (howsoever you might define that).

    Unbelievable hatred is being expressed on this site. Unbelievable.

    1. He opposes same-sex marriage. He’s being criticised because of that.

      What’s your point?

      1. Hate hater’s point is that his views are not simply being criticised because he opposes same-sex marriage but the ridiculous and juvenile ad hominem attacks against him – calling him names.

        Ironically, it also seems to reinforce what O’Neill has said: gay supporters don’t want any debate on the issue. As soon as someone expresses a dissenting voice they are branded (take your pick) a homophobe, out-dated, bigot etc.

        People will always disagree with you, folks. Get used to it and grow some emotional intelligence.

    2. Is the face behind “Hate hater” David Burrowes? “Hate hater” and David Burrowes think that ‘hatred’ is expressed on PinkNews. David Burrowes appears to have an obsession about the legitimate opinions expressed by PN contributors, so it wouldn’t be a surprise whatsoever if he is also expressing his opinions on PN. He is hypocritically offended by our opinions as is “Hate hater” and both accuse our opinions as ‘hatred’.

      To “Hate hater” and David Burrowes: Challenging bigotry by merely defining bigots as bigots is not hatred as you well know. Challenging the opportunity for gay people to be treated as equal citizens in society is bigoted and hateful as you also well know, so stop ‘turning the table’ by pretending to be the victim. In an attempt to ease their consciences (if they have a conscience to begin with) bigots attempt to make their bigotry appear legitimate by blaming their victims of the very thing they are guilty of themselves.

    3. Robert in S. Kensington 15 Feb 2013, 12:42pm

      Pot calling the kettle black? The day he stops villifying gay people, then perhaps the hate label may no longer stick to him. You’re defending reverse hatred.

  30. The antis cannot have it both ways.

    Either we are a bunch of hysterical extremists, obsessed with marriage, issuing death threats and threatening lawsuits left, right and centre. (Mr Burrowes’s version.)

    Or we are a bunch of apathetic bourgeois sell-outs being led around by an authoritarian elite with a nefarious agenda. (Mr O’Neill’s version.)

    When two such contrasting accounts are given, the only reasonable response is of course that both are nonsense.

    We have not been rioting in the streets because we have asked for this change, we have obtained majority support among the public and in parliament, and the legislation is going through.

    Rioting in the streets would be stupid, because we’re already getting what we want.

    I find it best to confine my rioting to situations where I’m _not_ getting what I want. Perhaps Mr O’Neill’s practice is different.

  31. My concern is less that he holds these views but that his views were in any way considered as worth one jot in regards to the scrutiny of the bill as he doesn’t appear to be someone with a genuine vested interest beyond the flapping of his mouth and an audience for it.

  32. this guys articles and blogs are printed in the local right wing paper here in Australia called the “The Australian”

    I think most of his points are quite ridiculous but will comment on 2 from Oz point of view:

    1/Opinion polls consistently show majority public support for SSM last ones here were in mid 60%. Surveys of LGBT here community also shows massive support, sure same in UK etc.

    2/ Just because those campaigners in the 70’s were against all marriage, doesn’t mean a lot haven’t changed their mind, look at Peter Thatchell for instance. SSM also has huge support amongst younger gays and lesbians who were not even around then!

    1. David Jordan 15 Feb 2013, 12:55am

      This guy knows F all about Stonewall or the Gay rights movement.
      The Stonewall Inn was a gay bar who’s customers only had two things in common, they were LGBT and they were rejected by the rest of socity, who one night, after one too may an unjustified raid by the NYPD decided to fight back, they weren’t radicals who wanted to massively redefine socity, they just wanted to be left alone.
      Same with the 70’s Gay Rights Movement, they didn’t want to tear down institutions, they just wanted their rights vindicated.
      When this man is so wrong about basic parts of LGBT history, one has to question why he is being allowed to give evidence to the Public Bill Committee.
      I’d suggest the book, ‘The Mayor of Castro Street’ to improve his knowledge of our history, but I don’t think he’s the kind of person to read any version of history that disagrees with his preconcived notions.

  33. PeterinSydney 15 Feb 2013, 7:39am

    This dude is typical of Murdoch and the UK Telegraph both being very nasty to gay people. Ignore them I suggest.

  34. I think this is him
    ‘Broadly libertarian,he considers efforts to combat racism in football to be “a class war” driven by “elites’ utter incomprehension of the mass passions that get aired at football matches”. Referring to high-profile cases of racial abuse and alleged racial abuse, he argued, “these incidents and alleged incidents are not racism at all, in the true meaning of the word”, due to the levels of passion involved, describing anti-racism efforts as “a pretty poisonous desire to police the … working classes”.
    Though describing himself as “an atheistic libertarian”, he criticised opposition to Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the United Kingdom as intolerant and fearmongerin@

  35. GulliverUK 15 Feb 2013, 9:17am

    Ignore him, I always do. He writes utter nonsense, disregarding racism in the same way he opposes efforts to tackle homophobia. His articles are always tinged with a slightly disguised whiff of Family Research Council rhetoric. He’s anti-gay, has been a long-time opponent of equal rights, says he’s left-wing but doesn’t believe in hardly anything that those on the left believe in, and most consider him extreme right-wing. Claims to be a libertarian but clearly doesn’t believe in actual freedom for some groups. He’s an angry man, his pieces of full of invective against everybody else, he whipps up anti-gay sentiment wherever he can, as his devotion to The Pope demands of him, or so he believes. Most MPs seem to regard his views as extremist and a joke – hard to comprehend exactly why he was allowed to attend. The Catholic delegation were also slightly bonkers. :D

    1. The Catholic delegation were also slightly bonkers? Strike out the ‘slightly’ please Gulliver!

  36. What hysterical and prejudiced invective from readers of an important paper. Sad times that an intelligent argument is denounced with bile and banishment instead of reason. O’Neil expresses a very real concern that the state’s involvement in regulating our private lives ‘for better or worse’ is problematic. The conservatives re-branding themselves as our saviors as he has written, and superior to the supposedly bigoted mass, will do us no favors either and does sound like elitist contempt.

    1. Go troll somewhere else. You’re in danger of deliberately harassing people based on their sexual orientation.

      1. …and you’re in danger of deliberately ignoring a reasoned comment just because of your bigoted views.

        If Ceri’s comment is considered trolling this whole discussion thread is filled with trolls, looking at the standard of their ‘openness’ and ‘tolerance’ to those of different views.

  37. Jock S. Trap 15 Feb 2013, 11:08am

    Yet against another person joining the ‘crusade’ of acting little spoilt little children having tantrums because they aren’t getting what they want…. nobody’s listening to them even though they’re are in a minority.

    Fact is David Cameron would not bring in this bill if he thought for a minute it would be political suicide, No politican should. So maybe people like Brendan O’Neill should remember that and the fact that the majority of people either do want marriage to be equal or are bother in the slightest and not opposed.

    These people represent the dinosaurs of the establishment and a dying breed too. They do not only want to listen but don’t wants fact either because it questions their own beliefs of what They are told to think.

    Fact is just because the minority in this aren’t screams and shouts like spoilt children, it doesn’t mean they represent the majority view. If they did have a majority view, I doubt they’d be making so much noise at all.

  38. TeenageWhore 15 Feb 2013, 12:49pm

    he’s pretty god damn hot though!

    1. We’re obviously looking at different posts…

    2. Paul Essex/London 16 Feb 2013, 6:06pm

      True, he’s type too. Until he opens his mouth that is.

  39. jjcharlesworth 15 Feb 2013, 1:33pm

    I don’t think O’Neill is simply upholding some nasty old-fashioned notion of marriage which apparently no longer applies. He’s asking why gay campaigners are so desperate to be equated to straights in the eyes of the law. But surely gay equality means not being discriminated against by the law when it comes to issues of inheritance, next of kin, and all the other legal constructs that privileged hetero marriage.
    The radical response would be to demand the abolition of such privileges, not to demand that one should join the club. O’Neill point is that gay rights campaigners have fallen into the trap of wanting to be bound by the same rules as apply to hetero marriage, which is somethign that carries state-sanctioned legal status, rather than wanting to be free of discrimination by the state, which is where gay rights originally started. What is so hard to understand about that? or is the sense of that point embarassing so some who haven’t thought it through?

    1. No – simply most people don’t agree and don’t see marriage as a ‘trap’ any more than a passport, a bank account, an NHS card… etc etc. If you don’t want to ‘ape straight people’ then you’d better give up pretty much your whole life because straight people are by far the majority and so every single thing can be denoted ‘straight’, even eating and drinking.

      And you misrepresent the struggle of LGBT people in the past. We don’t all want to be radical anarchists, thanks. Most of us just want to live our lives in peace. Nor do we see straight people as ‘the enemy’ so sharing institutions with them is not a problem.

      No-one will be making you get married, so if you don’t want to then don’t, but butt out of my life and stop pretending that there’s only one ‘right way’ to be gay.

  40. Lucy O'Sullivan 15 Feb 2013, 1:43pm

    I love that he keeps calling it an “elitist campaign” to paraphrase Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride, “You keep using that phrase, I do not think it means what you think it means” and yes, I did use his voice in my head as I wrote it!

    Plus, I think he doesn’t quite gets percentages, I know they’re hard, but I’m pretty sure 56% is a “larger majority” than 44%, and I believe official government figures place supporters of equal marriage at 71%, which would leave the “larger majority” at 39%, so from this point I’m going to “split hairs” and just call them the minority! Lets call a spade a shovel and not get all fancy!

  41. jjcharlesworth 15 Feb 2013, 2:02pm

    There is a question though, about why gay campaigners want recognition from a state-sanctioned institution, rather than be free of it. The radical position would surely be to demand the abolition of the legal privileges conferred on heterosexuals, rather than wanting to join the club. If gay rights campaigners just ‘wanted to be left alone’, as David Jordan suggests, how exactly can you be ‘left alone’ if the legal institution discriminates against you? Being free means not being discriminated against by an institution, but you are more free by abolishing the institution than getting it to include you…

    1. In YOUR opinion. YOU start a campaign to abolish marriage if you want to – and all the other myriad straight institutions, of course….

      You clearly have issues with marriage. That’s fine – some straight people do too. But they simply don’t get married. It’s not compulsory. And for every advantage of marriage there’s a disadvantage too. So make your choice as with everything else in life.

    2. But I want the CHOICE… just like every straight person has.

    3. First of all, many people see the institution of marriage as a helpful, beneficial and prestigious one. That’s why they want access to it, rather than its abolition. Such people do not see it as a fundamentally “straight” institution, but as a universally beneficial one that is currently being unfairly closed off to large sections of the population. The problem is not that is fundamentally IS a privilege, the problem is that currently it’s being offered like one.

      I can’t say I am tremendously pro-marriage as an institution myself though. While I maintain an emotional fondness for it and its trappings, I do see it as fundamentally discriminatory in that it gives social and cultural prestige and legal privilege to people in couples, raising them in the eyes of society over single people. That’s not discrimination along lines of orientation though, that’s discrimination along lines of social behaviours…

      1. … HOWEVER, I know that marriage is going to be with us for a long time to come and turning my efforts to reducing its prestige in society would be a fruitless struggle. Marriage is pretty much a human universal, occurring in some form or another across virtually all cultures we have ever encountered. It is not going anywhere any time soon – the unfortunate human predilection for vaunting those who have managed to get into sexual relationships over the rest of us seems fairly ingrained and ineradicable.

        Conceding that we are going to have marriage, though, it is entirely reasonable to fight to make the kind of marriage we do have as equal, non-discriminatory and universal as possible – to take out the element of discrimination based on orientation, even if the overall element of discrimination based on relationship status is, regrettably, retained.

  42. It’s so offensive that str8 people continually call gay relationships ‘companionship’ and liken them to brother/brother relationships. They simply can’t let go of the idea that gay are somehow ‘other’ and a lesser other at that!

    1. On the other hand, sometimes the relationship between two brothers is far deeper, stronger and more profound than any sexual relationship can be. It is doing a disservice to fraternal relationships to dismiss them as somehow “lesser” by default – I know that my relationship with my twin brother is far more important to my life than any boyfriend or husband ever could be. Sometimes parent-child relationships are the strongest and most profound. Sometimes it’s just very deep personal friendships. For lots of people it is impossible to grade and rank and compare – they’re just different.

      What we should be doing is abandoning this normative hierarchy of relationship value altogether, and recognising that different people have different relationships of different strengths. Why should we get caught up in constructing a scheme of how it’s “supposed” to be, rather than acknowledging the diversity of our condition and getting on with life as we want to live it?

  43. Brendan O’Neil is a well know contrarian (by the way, someone earlier mentioned that he was a member of the RCP, the RCP ceased to exist about 20 years ago), he like to bait gay people, feminists, the left, the anti-war movement and accusses them all of being racists, any-working class, elitist etc. (Brendan O’Neil himself has a regular column himself in that revolutionary and pro-working class braodsheet The Daily Telegraph). He is a professional troll and should be treated as such, i.e. he should be ignored, however difficult that may be. The more attention he gets the more he enjoys it.

  44. Paul Essex/London 16 Feb 2013, 6:05pm

    The only person I saw in that room with a ‘bourgeois’ agenda was Brendan O’Neill. His sole interest in this bill is using it as a tool to be controversial in pursuit of his career as a two bit hack who attacks any section of society in order to achieve notoriety for himself. The comparison to race riots to support his argument only showed his ignorance of what being on the receiving end of homophobia actually involves.

    I don’t think he’s a homophobe, his motivations are far more shallow than any sort of irrational fear, this is just a game to fulfill his own sense of self worth as a maverick. In that respect I find him far more nauseous a person than people who oppose this bill on religious grounds, at least the majority of them have a genuine reason for their position no matter how misguided and idiotic it might be.

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