Comments: Equality Act: more on the GB SORs

oh dear Rupert's equivocations are very middle class het, and uninformed by real lgbt people.

Or real people with disabilities for that matter. He REALLY does need to inform him self about the disability movement in Britain, as well that of gays. As few people with a visual impairment, as lgbt people, would warm to his statement that being blind is not a moral problem, and nor is being gay !

And as for gay relationships (and blindness too, presumably) not being "God's will" --" but anyway be nice to Them..."


Posted by Laurence Roberts at Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 8:42pm GMT

I don't think the Archbishop is just worried about being obliged to consider people in CPs as adoptees. Surely Adoption agencies can still decide whether people in a gay partnership are suitable .. or not suitable?

The trouble with the Regs is NOT that they protect people from unjust discrimination in the provision of Goods and Services on grounds of Sexual Orientation. That is obviously virtuous and noone in the UK seems to be saying that they want to do it!! The problem is the obligation to treat CPs the same as marriage, and the obligation to treat homosexual activity as morally neutral. On both those issues the SORs are pure Ideological enforcement.

Posted by Dave at Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 11:36pm GMT

Has anyone counted up how many times the Christian Right use the term 'unprecedented'?

Everything is an unprecedented threat.

It is though to be expected that a law outlawing discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation have the most impact on the people who believe the most passionately that they should be able to carry out such discrimination.

In a similar way that banning fox hunting had the greatest impact on the people who hunted foxes and that the ban on smoking in public places affects people who passionately believe they should be able to carry on smoking in public places.

So all of this sound and fury (unprecedented though it be until the next piece of legislation comes around, which will no doubt be equally "unprecedented") is only to be expected.

Posted by Craig Nelson at Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 1:13am GMT

"The problem is the obligation to treat CPs the same as marriage, and the obligation to treat homosexual activity as morally neutral. On both those issues the SORs are pure Ideological enforcement."

Whereas allowing individual faith groups to impose their own moral judgements on people of any or no faith in a non-religious context is NOT ideological enforcement?

Of course adoption agencies must continue to decide the suitability of ANY potential adoptive parent. They just are not allowed to judge on the basis of religous prejudice that automatically wants to exclude a whole category of people.

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 10:32am GMT

I wish to thank Craig for his unprecedented post--it certainly draws the sting of panic and puts things into perspective for me.

Erika -- I have never heard this put with such clarity and moral force, and so tersely. Thanks for it.

Posted by Laurence Roberts... at Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 12:54pm GMT

I'm glad that Anglican Mainstream has chimed in on this issue. Perhaps people will notice that their arguments are complete nonsense.

The begin by using an unusual phrase -- "a well founded religious belief". A "well founded" belief is one for which there is some evidence. Perhaps not conclusive evidence, but evidence nonetheless. What is a "well founded religious belief"? What is particularly "well founded" about a religious belief? Do they think that they have some objective evidence?

They continue "Plainly under the regulations [a B&B operator] cannot refuse this request if he has such a room available, however much this may offend his conscience. What business is it of the operator of a B&B to what use people put his rooms? Does the operator feel morally culpable for sins committed on the premesis? I hope no one ever commits a murder there, how can the operator bear the guilt?

The reality is that inkeepers are not responsible for the moral failings of their guests. They have a legitimate concern that the guests not damage the property. This is where their responsibility ends. If an innkeeper feels overly responsible for activities in the rooms, perhaps they are in the wrong business.

Posted by ruidh at Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 1:29pm GMT

Of course CP's should be treated the same as mariage, because they are legally, the same, in terms of the rights and responsibilities attached

And of course gay relationships should be respected, and that does mean that discriminatory approaches such as those of the church, which do not afford moral equivalence, cannot be incorporated within this sort of civil legislation.

Posted by Merseymike at Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 2:30pm GMT

I post without comment the following extract from an Associated Press report, forwarded to me by a friend in the US.

The president of the leading Southern Baptist seminary has
incurred sharp attacks from both the left and right by suggesting that a
biological basis for homosexuality may be proven, and that prenatal
treatment to reverse gay orientation would be biblically justified.

The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., one of the country's pre-eminent
evangelical leaders, acknowledged that he irked many fellow
conservatives with an article earlier this month saying scientific
research "points to some level of biological causation" for homosexuality.

Proof of a biological basis would challenge the belief of many
conservative Christians that homosexuality - which they view as sinful -
is a matter of choice that can be overcome through prayer and counseling.

However, Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
in Louisville, Ky., was assailed even more harshly by gay-rights
supporters. They were upset by his assertion that homosexuality would
remain a sin even if it were biologically based, and by his support for
possible medical treatment that could switch an unborn gay baby's sexual
orientation to heterosexual.

Posted by cryptogram at Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 2:34pm GMT

I wonder if it is also the policy of Anglican Mainstream to bring back the Blackpool landlady of the 1950s and the use of Mr and Mrs Smith.

Posted by Pluralist at Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 2:35pm GMT

I have just read the Anglican Mainstream entry relating to the membership of the Committee which will review this legislation. Unusually, for Anglican Mainstream's site, there is a comment added by a gentleman called Peter Ould, an Anglican clergyman. He asks why this committee has an 11% membership of gay people. Surely on a committee charged with scrutinising legislation to do with discrimination against homosexual people it is sensible to have at least an 11% representation. Does the Reverend Mr Ould want every committee simply to reflect the make-up of the population and not specific interest groups? If that is the case I suggest he champions the inclusion of committed, proselytising atheists on those committees which scrutinise laws relating to the Church of England or the protections offered to those who hold a religious faith.

Posted by Anglicanus at Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 3:23pm GMT

Isn't Peter Ould a Sydney Calvinist?

Posted by Kurt at Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 5:26pm GMT

Cryptogram wrote: "The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., one of the country's pre-eminent evangelical leaders, acknowledged that he irked many fellow
conservatives with an article earlier this month saying scientific research "points to some level of biological causation" for homosexuality."

Dear Cryptogram, I think that it is probably true that there is an striong element of biological causation - though the evidence point to this being "predisposition" rather than a direct causal link. For instance Merseymike opoint to resuilts of survey from identical twins that reported that if one twin is homosexually orientated the other twin was on 55% likely to be the same. If the causation was 100% biological you would expect 100% - since both the genetics and the womb environment were the identical. In fact if Sexual Orientation were purely a combination of biology and childhood environment you would also expect a result much nearer 100%...

A more recent study from Columbia univ looks at this ion mnore detail, with a much larger sample than many studies (5500) . The looked at identical and non-identical twins, siblings etc and found some interestuing results. The coincidence of bozth identical twins being homosexual was only about 25% - they think because in their study they asked each twin rather than relying on the gay twin reporting the other twins sexuality. They also found that all combinations produced similar levels of homosexuality, except with boy-girl twins. In this case the likelihood taht the boy had homosexual orientationwas twice all the others. This went back to average, however, if the boy had an older male sibling..

All points to a lot, but not exclusively, a strong effect of childhood environment. To quote: "The authors consider social, genetic, evolutionary, and hormonal transfer hypotheses for same-sex romantic preferences of adolescent (N=5,552) sibling pairs drawn from a nationally representative sample. They show that male but not female opposite-sex twins disproportionately report same-sex attraction; and that the pattern of concordance of same-sex preference among siblings is inconsistent with a simple genetic influence model. Their results provide substantial support for the role of social influences, reject the hormone transfer model, reject a speculative evolutionary theory, and are consistent with a general model that allows for genetic expression of same-sex attraction under specific, highly circumscribed, social conditions."

Posted by Dave at Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 6:05pm GMT

Following from Cryptogram's comment, Albert Mohler's full argument about treating potentially gay foetuses can be found here:

Posted by Greg at Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 7:23pm GMT

With regard to Anglican Mainstream's hypothetical examples, why not talk about reality. For example, lets talk about the 'Christian' photographer, who when approached by two friends of mine about their Civil Partnership in Lincoln, screamed at them to get out, that they were an abomination and disgusting, blah, blah as she threw them out of her shop. This bigot expressed her 'strongly held religious view'. I don't object to her expressing it, we live in a democracy, but I do object to he pretending to offer a service, then using that as a platform to abuse people from.

Posted by Greg at Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 7:30pm GMT

Well done Erika. You are playing this forum well, I've been enjoying reading your posts.

Craig, and Ruidh picked up on "unprecedented" and "well founded" in some peoples' postings.

I've been having a giggle over some postings over the last week or so. "Authoritative" people now referring to Tanzania, Windsor, Lambeth and using "authoritative" words to put everything back in its rightful order.

At one point someone asked for the babel fish interpretation of a posting.

It's rather fun, we can't win the debate using ordinary every day language, so we'll use "authoritative" escoteric language that only the suitably academically trained can understand. Then we can claim that only those who understand this "high language" are those who have been touched by the holy spirit. Those who do not understand are therefore evil or unblessed.

Sorry, that just sounds like cliche or sect behaviour gone rampantly out of control.

I still like the Apostle Paul's comments on speaking in tongues or "high language" e.g 1 Corinthians 14 which includes " the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue..."

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 8:09pm GMT

Peter Ould describes himself as PostGay on his website:

Posted by badman at Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 8:57pm GMT

Unswayed by facts, Dave continues to demonstrate his breathless misunderstanding of complex genetic traits.....

Posted by IT at Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 11:35pm GMT

Dear IT, Could you please help me, and everyone else, by being specific about what facts I am unswayed by (and why) and what complex genetic traits you think I don't understand?..

ps I posted info and links to two other relevant papers here: on 14 March 2007 at 10:57pm GMT and have replied to the points that you made in that thread.

Posted by Dave at Friday, 16 March 2007 at 12:03am GMT

This question stands at the intersection of so many competing interests. Feminists and political liberals have argued for decades now that a woman should have an unrestricted right to an abortion, for any cause or for no stated cause at all. How can they now complain if women decide to abort fetuses identified as homosexual? This question involves both abortion and gay rights -- the perfect moral storm of our times.

Homosexual activists have claimed that sexual orientation cannot be changed. What if a hormone patch during pregnancy will do the job?

As Gray suggests:

In a culture that encourages us to customize everything from our Nikes to our venti skinny lattes, perhaps it is only a matter of time before baby-making becomes just another consumer transaction. Already have a girl? Make this one a boy! Want to impress your boho friends? Make a real statement with lesbian twins!

More to the point, Gray understands that such a development would reshape the abortion and gay-rights debates in America....'

This is typical -of the peice by the Baptist leader. How utterly trivialising and irresponsible, in both tone and contecnt. I don't think many of us will be turning to such cynical 'moral guides' any day soon.

So if the hormone patches fail to change sexual orientation ---don't worry, there is always abortion ....

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Friday, 16 March 2007 at 12:26am GMT

Mr. Ould is a strong voice in the conservative StandFirm blog. Australian, it would seem, from his audio streamed accent. Rather an Australian clone of Mr. Sugden it might seem when one reads or hears some of their views.

If you wish to see where the new Anglican realignment is supposed to head for all of us, just hang about the StandFirm blog for a while.

I venture to guess it would open many people's eyes, and some would feel they had finally found a level of religious certainty that would guarantee their getting to heaven, full stop, period. Especially if they can keep queer folks from falling in love, for some particularly hot button reasons.

Posted by drdanfee at Friday, 16 March 2007 at 1:11am GMT

I think some commenters are confusing Peter Ould with David Ould.

They are related but separate persons.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Friday, 16 March 2007 at 9:03am GMT

According to the Peter Ould website, the Oulds are twins, both into the ex Gay industry, both militants in the Anglican church War:

“An absolutely blinding post by my twin brother, showing how KJS has no idea how to interpret Scripture. Go here to read it

David Ould had this piece on Stand Firm just the other day:

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 16 March 2007 at 9:33am GMT

The Go here to read it link is this one:

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 16 March 2007 at 9:34am GMT

Göran wrote: "According to the Peter Ould website, the Oulds are twins, both into the ex Gay industry..."

Dear Göran, Peter says he is "PostGay" - not industrial and not an easy path!

Posted by Dave at Saturday, 17 March 2007 at 12:03am GMT


Your posting caused a mixed reaction

SOME feminists and liberals have argued for women to have unrestricted access to abortions.

On a personal level, I would feel that to be overstating the case. I do not agree with late term abortion - I consider that to be murder. Similarly, I find the middle trimester extremely disconcerting. I do not have a problem with the pill, or morning after pill - especially in cases of forced sex. It is simply another period, and I've known women to be months pregnant using both these forms of contraceptive. Which just goes to show that if God wants that chid born, it will be born.

On the other hand, you have made a legitimate point of extreme hypocrisy if certain parties talk about the "inviolate" rights for the unborn child yet were to now advocate interference with the foetus where it is "unsuitable" (i.e. homosexual by nature).

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Saturday, 17 March 2007 at 1:18am GMT

Hi Cheryl-
If late-term abortion is murder, what is the cut-off point beteween 'late-term' and not-so-late, and in what respect is the pre cut-off point baby a different individual from the post cutoff point baby?

A second question: Supposing the cut-off point were for example 24 weeks - anything close to 24 weeks would in your view be approximating to murder. In what way is it justified for someone to do something which by your own admission would be approximating to murder?

Posted by Christopher Shell at Saturday, 17 March 2007 at 12:35pm GMT

Christopher, I appreciate that in a binary universe the dividing line between 'sin' and 'virtue' is a sharp one. However, in the Christian tradition, moral complexity has long been acknowledged. As I have mentioned before, the RC concept of 'double effect' long ago permitted what were prima facie immoral actions if the alternative was a greater disaster.

Hard cases make bad law - the Church acknowledged this long before the civil authorities, and it's odd to find Christians apparently ignorant of basic Christian ethical teaching, or only appying it in situations favourable to their own moral dilemmas.

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Saturday, 17 March 2007 at 3:46pm GMT

Hi David Rowett-

??? When did I say there were no morally complex cases?

My point was quite a different one: namely, that I could not see how this particular one was complex. Normally, anything involving suffering or death of innocent children ranks as the most straightforward morally.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Monday, 19 March 2007 at 12:42pm GMT

and you say this is not a binary view?
All abortions are the murder of innocent children?
There are no abortions of insufferably damaged foetuses? There is a clear moral choice when either foetus or mother must die?
What if you have to choose between letting the resulting child suffer terribly or never be born?

I don't want to start an abortion debate here, but even those who don't like abortion normally admit that it's a complext moral question!

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 19 March 2007 at 1:58pm GMT

Yes it's a complex moral question, but those that try, successfully in the USA unsuccessfully in Europe, to make it an "issue", don't do it because abortion is complex or moral.

The "issue" is about w h o shall make the decision; the woman or a man in a position of “authority”…


Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 19 March 2007 at 5:18pm GMT
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.