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Mail columnist compares his opposition to Stephen Fry’s engagement to Charlie Hebdo shootings

Joseph McCormick January 16, 2015
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A Daily Mail columnist has compared his own opposition to Stephen Fry’s engagement to shootings at the offices of Charlie Hebdo.

Apparently not getting the memo that the tabloid furore around Fry’s engagement to Elliott Spencer ended some weeks ago, Daily Mail columnist Tom Utley wrote to say that he was “infinitely blessed” that his 27-year-old son a 32-year-old women named Lisa, over someone like the “shambling form of our official national treasure, 57-year-old Stephen Fry.”

In his column, Utley questions whether Spencer’s parents perhaps had “private doubts” about the engagement, despite that they publicly celebrated the news.

He continues: “As for myself, I confess that in their circumstances I would have had to draw on all my acting skills to put on even an unconvincing display of pleasure.

“First, there’s that dramatic age gap – and before I expose myself to a Twitter storm of hatred from the gay lobby (I’ll risk doing that in a moment), let me say that I would have felt pretty squeamish if our 27-year-old had said he planned to marry a woman of 57.

“Then there are his much publicised fits of deep depression, which must surely be a worry (though let us hope that marriage will help lift that veil).”

He goes on to claim that he is not anti-gay, and that he would hope his son would be able to come out to him if he were gay.

He writes: “I entreat you not to misunderstand me. It would break my heart if any son of mine felt I was such a bigot that he couldn’t tell me he was gay, or thought that I’d love him any the less for it. I’d also like it on record that I came round long ago to civil partnerships, and I’m a little ashamed of my initial opposition to them.

Going on, however, he describes marriage as “an institution for child-rearing and mutual support between the sexes”, saying,”the real thing can only be between a man and a woman.”

“Of course, you’re welcome to say that my views are Neanderthal and don’t matter a damn. But it is surely an incontrovertible fact that many millions share them.”

Suggesting that there is a “gay lobby”, having “awesome power”, which people are “scared” of.

Utley writes: “In particular, we’re scared of Mr Fry’s ability to mobilise his Twitter mob of 8.3 million followers, condemning us at the touch of a ‘send’ button to torrents of abuse if we give a hint of offence.”

In the final paragraph, a comparison is made by Utley to his opposition to the engagement to the killings which took place at the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo two weeks ago.

“One final question. This was the week celebrities and politicians from all over the free world linked arms in defence of a Paris magazine’s right to give gratuitous offence to Muslims. OK, nobody is going to shoot me. But how many of them, I wonder, would show the same solidarity with a paper that showed similar disrespect for Mr Fry’s nuptial arrangements?
With that chilling thought, I’ll belt up, wish the happy couple well — and count myself infinitely blessed that my son chose Lisa.”

Two weeks ago, gunmen killed twelve people, after attacking the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical French magazine that famously published a cartoon of a gay Muslim kiss.

Stephen Fry has since called on the world’s media to republish copies of the magazine’s cartoons following the massacre of 12 people.

More: daily mail, elliott spencer, Stephen Fry

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