A politician on the Isle of Man has apologised – after it emerged a speech he gave opposing same-sex marriage was copied from at least two sources.
The Isle of Man maintains autonomy from the UK – and is currently discussing same-sex marriage legislation.
However, alarm was raised this week after MHK Zac Hall gave a speech in Tynewald (the Manx Parliament), in which entire sections appeared identical to one given by Conservative MP Tim Loughton in the UK.
Mr Loughton, who had originally made the comments while arguing for opposite-sex civil partnerships, appeared very surprised to hear from PinkNews that Mr Hall had used his speech, adding that he had “never heard” of the politician.
Meanwhile, Manx Radio noted that Mr Hall’s speech also bore entire segments that were identical to an article in the Irish Catholic.
Mr Hall admitted the practice in a statement today.
He said: “It was, with the benefit of hindsight, somewhat lax to use the version of speech this week.
“Its use was not in any way disrespectful but made with the best of intent and in no way wishing harm or showing ill will towards others.
“I apologise unreservedly to my constituents if they feel I have fallen short of their expectations.
He added: “I spoke with genuine passion in the House of Keys because I believe the bill is flawed in areas.
“I was ultimately trying to persuade my colleagues to refer the bill for review to a legislative committee.
“For example, there is, in my view, no protection in the bill regarding the impact on teachers and teaching in faith schools.
“And there appears to be no protection on matters such as the recruitment and dismissal of teachers in certain circumstances in these schools.
“To the best of my knowledge, it is the Equality Act and the School Standards Act 1998 that protect such schools on the issue in the UK.”
“I would, therefore, question whether this bill should have been brought forward for consideration before the Equality Bill.”
Same-sex marriage has been legal in England and Wales for nearly two years with no such measurable impact on teachers.