Sunday, 7 October 2012

Equal marriage row at Conservative Party conference

Updated again Tuesday afternoon

The Conservative Party annual conference is taking place in Birmingham.

Anglican Mainstream has issued this press release: Policy Exchange pulls out of Gay Marriage debate at Tory Conference Fringe

“Tory hierarchy reluctant for grassroots to discuss the issue?” says Anglican Mainstream

“Empty Chair debate goes ahead without them”

Top Westminster think-tank Policy Exchange has pulled out at short notice of a Tory conference fringe debate on gay marriage with Anglican Mainstream, the socially conservative ‘information network’ in the Church of England.

“We are very disappointed,” said Canon Chris Sugden, executive secretary of Anglican Mainstream (AM). “We’ve invested a huge amount in this heavyweight event to debate Real Marriage against PE’s Gay or ‘Equal’ Marriage amongst the ordinary conservative public – and at almost the last moment they pull out. It looks as if the Tory hierarchy don’t want the grassroots discussing the issue”…

Policy Exchange issued a paper on equal civil marriage which we reported on previously, see What’s in A Name? A report on Equal Marriage. Earlier they issued this press release: Policy Exchange response to Church claims on same sex marriage.

And there was this in the Mail on Sunday by Jonathan Petre Lord Carey: Gay marriage could have ‘drastic’ consequences including risk of polygamy.

Update
This does not refer to the above item but to a rally being held on Monday, see this report by Jerome Taylor in the Independent Welcome to the Nasty Party conference.

…About 900 people, the majority of them active members of the Conservative Party, will crowd into Birmingham Town Hall at lunchtime today to hear the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, the former Home Office minister Ann Widdecombe and others give speeches on why there should be no change in the legal definition of marriage to recognise same-sex couples.

The meeting will be ringed by a heavy police presence to prevent anyone getting in apart from party representatives and others with valid passes to the Tory conference. Several organisations, including the public sector union, the PCS, are holding what they call a “Picket the Bigots” protest outside the town hall. They accuse the rally’s organisers of wanting to turn back the clock on the rights won by gays and lesbians…

Noon update

A spokesperson for Policy Exchange (PX) has told Thinking Anglicans that:

  • The debate was originally proposed by Anglican Mainstream (AM) and was agreed to in principle by PX provided that at least two MPs could be found to participate, and that a strong independent chair could be found. These are the conditions under which all PX-sponsored fringe debates are held.
  • A willing independent chair was found (who also insisted on the participation of MPs) but, despite considerable efforts, no MPs could be found to participate, therefore the event could not proceed at the conference.
  • AM told PX on 6 October that AM was willing to accept PX’s offer of a similarly structured debate in London later in the Autumn, when MPs would be easier to find.
  • AM did not notify PX of their latest intentions prior to issuing yesterday’s press release.

Tuesday update

Anglican Mainstream reports STOP PRESS: Policy Exchange agree to debate and

“Equal” or Real Marriage debate at Tory Party Conference

Forty people attended a lunch time debate rearranged at half and hour’s notice at the Tory Party Conference on Tuesday lunchtime,

Policy Exchange reversed their earlier decision to pull out of the debate and agreed that David Skelton, author of their paper What’s in a Name? – is there a case for equal marriage? could debate with Dermot O’Callaghan, member of the General Synod of the Church of Ireland…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 7 October 2012 at 10:20pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: equality legislation
Comments

"We've invested a huge amount in this heavyweight event to debate Real Marriage against PE's Gay or 'Equal' Marriage amongst the ordinary conservative public – and at almost the last moment they pull out. It looks as if the Tory hierarchy don't want the grass-roots discussing the issue"

- Chris Sugden -

Except that it wouldn't quite be 'the grass roots' who would be agreeing with Mainstream's point of view.

Despite the pretentious title that 'Mainstream' have arrogated to themselves, they are so obviously not representative of real mainstream Anglicans. 'Mainstream' is a vociferously biassed doctrinal forum of conservative Anglicanism that simply does not represent real mainstream and 'grass-roots' Anglicans.

Certainly they do not represent grass-roots members of the British public, who are much more inclined to allow Gay couples the benefit of legal marriage than any religious group such as 'M.S.'

Mr. Sugden's confrontational harassment of the LGBT community in Britain is probably the best reason for the Conservative party deciding not to engage with the rhetoric that 'Mainstream' espouses - on this or any other issue in civilised society.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 8 October 2012 at 1:21am BST

Once again, Lord Carey proves how much of an intellectual heavy-weight he isn't.

Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC on Monday, 8 October 2012 at 3:06pm BST

"Lord Carey: Gay marriage could have ‘drastic’ consequences including risk of polygamy."

Carey is a disgrace!

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 8 October 2012 at 9:20pm BST

Today's HuffPo article has Lord Carey comparing equal marriage to Naziism.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/08/gay-marriage-lord-carey-nazi-germany_n_1948250.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

The man is a disgrace.

Posted by: Malcolm French+ on Tuesday, 9 October 2012 at 6:20am BST

I note that Sugden has gone a step beyond putting his usual scare quotes around the word 'marriage' for gay people and has created the new institution of Real Marriage for himself (capital R capital M) to ensure he can remain on an island of purity, unpolluted by people like me.

Posted by: Laurence C. on Tuesday, 9 October 2012 at 8:16am BST

Thanks to Malcolm for the link. Absurd and strange what fear (?) can make you say. Afraid of what? I would also say that the comments linking gay marriage to the Third Reich, denigrate the real import of that horrific, and never-to-be-forgotten by our children and grandchildren for evermore please, regime. Get a grip on Lord (?) Carey.

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Tuesday, 9 October 2012 at 9:19am BST

From the Huffington Post article, cited by Malcolm French (accessible through his link above) bears further witness to Lord Carey's determination to vilify any attempt to secure the rights of Gay people to commit to monogamous same-sex marriage - in a way that will neither win friends for himself nor for the Church that he claims to represent.

To call the prospect of Gay marriage an opening to the possibility of the imposition of a Nazi regime, is the worst insult to both the Jews and the Homosexuals who were put to death by the Nazis in connection with the holocaust of World War II.

Does Dr. Carey's insensitivity know no bounds? Or is he determined, despite his acceptance of Divorce in the Church, to zero in on homosexuals as the supreme cause of breakdown in the Church and in public order? Shame on him.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 9 October 2012 at 11:14am BST

Here is Lord Carey at it again.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/faith/gay-marriage-campaign-its-the-first-step-to--third-reich-says-carey-8202954.html

How does one shut this man up? Or on second thoughts let him rant on. He has no credibility and his Nazi scare, like those of others who have used it, should be seen for what it is, the last throw of a bunch of losers.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Tuesday, 9 October 2012 at 2:00pm BST

Lord Carey's remarks have been interpreted rather differently in this comment article in the Telegraph:
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tomchiversscience/100184326/nazis-jews-and-gay-marriage-in-grudging-defence-of-lord-carey/

I think we shall need to see a complete transcript of his speech if we are to understand it accurately.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 9 October 2012 at 10:21pm BST

Simon:

Tom Chivers' more balanced response to Lord Carey's remarks is unfortunately belated, given that the cartridges of self-righteous indignation have been spent in anticipatory celebration of a victory for gay marriage advocates!

Whatever we make of his credibility, I wonder whether anyone here cares about what Lord Carey specifically said on this occasion. Does it really matter whether we misrepresent what a sworn enemy of 'the cause' has actually said?

If we want to fast and loose with truth, then let's be thorough. I mean, it was even alleged by several of the Messiah's contemporaries that our He claimed that He would destroy Solomon's temple and re-build it in three days. So, let's believe that too, shall we?!

Posted by: David Shepherd on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 at 12:08am BST

As you say: 'I think we shall need to see a complete transcript of his speech if we are to understand it accurately.'

Posted by: David Shepherd on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 at 12:12am BST

I'm game to see a transcript. However, given that this absurd and Godwinesque inanity is consistent with past utterances, I'm not inclined to agree with the Telegraph's generous interpretation - an interpretation which is NOT consistent with Carey of Clifton's previous utterances.

Posted by: Malcolm French+ on Thursday, 11 October 2012 at 6:11am BST

I would have to agree with Malcolm French - given past utterances and the mood of the meeting this more charitable interpretation seems very unlikely. So much so I think the transcript would have been released by now if this was so.

Still stranger things have happened. But not very often.

Posted by: Craig Nelson on Friday, 12 October 2012 at 8:57am BST

Well Craig, here's the transcript...
http://www.glcarey.co.uk/Speeches/2012/Coalition.html

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 12 October 2012 at 1:43pm BST

And here is the video recording
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqNWWfoqQxk&feature=share&list=PLS15SC1f3luNu5c7GkxaoCfMRrloEtAna

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 12 October 2012 at 2:02pm BST

Strange. I've read it several times and don't see any reference to the 3rd Reich.

Posted by: Craig nelson on Friday, 12 October 2012 at 3:38pm BST

His Nazi comments occurred in the unscripted question and answer session which are not included in the video or transcript.

Posted by: Iain Baxter on Friday, 12 October 2012 at 6:09pm BST

So, the provided transcript and video recording carry less weight that the 'hear-say' arising from the subsequent Q&A session?

That makes no sense. Time to move on.

Posted by: David Shepherd on Saturday, 13 October 2012 at 1:41am BST

Seems we still don't have the transcript of what was said. Nevertheless it was a public meeting attended by the press who duly reported Lord Carey's outrageous but wholly unexceptional (for him) remarks.

The following press reports quote from Carey liberally:

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/invoke-the-nazis-and-youve-lost-the-argument-8209712.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/the-lay-scientist/2012/oct/09/gay-marriage-carey-nazi?newsfeed=true

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/george-carey-a-nazi-slur-and-how-not-to-conduct-the-debate-over-samesex-marriage-in-britain-8202688.html

Posted by: Craig Nelson on Saturday, 13 October 2012 at 3:53pm BST

Craig:
I've checked those links, yet none of the writers expressly contradict the Telegraph reporter's considered position that Lord Carey's remarks were an appeal against mischaracterising gay marriage advocates as bigots:

'[Lord Carey] rejected suggestions that the true “bigots” were those who advocated gay marriage and would not listen to legitimate concerns of religious groups who disagreed.'

So, the clearly uncontested context was his opposition, during the Q&A, to the characterisation of gay marriage advocates as bigots. He meant that to begin such demonisation of opponents has, in the past, led to the worst prejudices of European history.

Unless a quote contradicts the Telegraph report, as I said, it's time to move on.

Posted by: David Shepherd on Saturday, 13 October 2012 at 10:26pm BST

Well, David, the matter may forever be mired in mystery.

I note that reductio ad Hitlerum lives on elsewhere:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-19937417

Posted by: Craig Nelson on Sunday, 14 October 2012 at 8:02pm BST
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