Current Affairs

BBC radio caller asks PinkNews editor whether he will marry his brother

Naith Payton January 8, 2015
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During a debate on BBC radio about age gaps in relationships featuring the editor of PinkNews, a caller asked “where to draw the line”, and said if gay people can marry in England, Scotland and Wales, why shouldn’t he be allowed to marry his brother.

PinkNews editor Joseph Patrick McCormick appeared on TalkBack on BBC Ulster on Wednesday, in a debate on whether the age gap between Stephen Fry and his fiancé Spencer Elliott is too big.

The show featured a local journalist who said she thought the age gap was “unbelievable”, and that she thought 30 years was too much but 20 years was permissible, as well as a straight couple with a forty year age gap and a “relationship expert”.

The final caller in the show, hosted by William Crawley, was asked whether he thought gay and straight couples had different acceptable age differences. He responded to say he thought gay couples shouldn’t be allowed to marry, and asked about whether he should be allowed to marry his brother.

He responded: “I don’t think that you can make the distinction on whether you are straight or heterosexual. I would say that, without knowing the specific circumstances, that 30 years seems rather too much. And I am not drawing the line.. the point is where do we draw our limitations.. I could say that I love my brother – my blood brother – should I be allowed to marry my brother?”

Mr McCormick responded to say he was “stunned” by the assertion that somehow same-sex marriage, which is currently not available in Northern Ireland, will lead to marriages between two brothers.

Speaking since the show, Mr McCormick said: “Being told by someone that they think it is ‘unbelievable’ for a 57 year old to be engaged to a 27 year old was one of many questionable views aired on the programme, as well as someone who said she was concerned for Mr Spencer because Mr Fry is bipolar and another who asked whether he should be allowed to marry his brother because gay couples can in England, Scotland and Wales.

“Frankly, two men who are obviously in love, have chosen to get married, and it is not for anyone else to pass judgement on their relationship. There really should be nothing more to say on the issue, other than congratulations.”

The full programme is available to listen here – the section about Stephen Fry starts at around 1:12.

Many media outlets wrote the age difference, or ages of Fry and Spencer, and some critics have said it plays into the idea that older gay men are somehow more predatory, and the archaic notion that there is something perverse in two men being in a relationship together.

More: elliott spencer, Northern Ireland, Stephen Fry

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