Labour’s Stella Creasy: Why do people still think it’s okay to laugh about gay issues?
Labour MP Stella Creasy has asked why a Question Time audience thought it appropriate to laugh at the suggestion that host David Dimbleby might be discriminated against for his sexuality.
She said she was “horrified” by the Ashers Bakery case, in which it was found guilty of discriminating against a man who asked for a “support gay marriage” cake.
The owners of Ashers Bakery in Belfast were earlier this week found guilty of unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation and political or religious grounds.
Last July, Ashers Baking Company – based in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland – refused the request of gay rights activist Gareth Lee for a cake showing the message ‘Support Gay Marriage’ above an image of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie.
Ms Creasy, the Labour Co-operative MP for Walthamstow, appeared on Question Time last night in Derby, and was offended by laughter when she asked host David Dimbleby how he would feel if he was discriminated against for his sexuality.
Appearing on the programme last night were Tory Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, Labour MP Stella Creasy, Lib Dem MP Tim Farron, former Dragons’ Den panellist Hilary Devey and columnist Owen Jones.
She said: “Perhaps what we recognise is that discriminating on people based on their sexuality has no place in the modern world. That’s why we have this legislation.”
“We have discrimination legislation for a reason – because we recognise in the modern world still there are people who sometimes judge people in those kind of ways.”
Addressing host Mr Dimbleby directly, she said: “How would you like it if someone did that to you David?”, she went on to say: “If somebody judged you in that way – I feel worried and ashamed that the way we talk about the fight – if somebody said something core to your being that your sexuality was something that they could judge in that way.”
On laughter from the audience, she said: “Everyone is laughing about this – why is this funny? If it was about someone’s skin colour we wouldn’t laugh about it – but we are laughing about homosexuality which tells us the way we’ve got to go to make Britain a country where everyone is free.”
She also commented on controversial comments made by Loose Women panellist Coleen Nolan over a widely condemned comparison she made between a “support gay marriage” cake and a “support ISIS” one.
“More than that, I have to say one of the things that will break my heart, and I know you are a regular viewer of [Loose Women] David, but anyone who saw Loose Women, and saw Coleen Nolan comparing it to having a cake with a message of ‘support for ISIL’ on it gets why we have to continue the fight for equality in this country, and speak up and say everyone has a right to be treated fairly,” said Ms Creasy.
The MP then suggested Mr Dimbleby should go on Loose Women, but said she was “horrified” by the Ashers case. She continued: “It shows how far we have to go in actually making the case that everyone deserves fair treatment, and more importantly dignity.
Owen Jones added: “If this was an interracial couple, quite rightly, we wouldn’t be having this debate. The fact is, if you want to operate a service, you have to abide by health and safety law, you have to abide by other legislation, and you have to abide by equality legislation as well. There is no place for those sorts of attitudes in the modern world. But if you do have those attitudes, in my opinion, don’t run a servie that’s open to the public – it’s as simple as that.”