Thursday 20 December 2012

Ten People Punished for Believing in Traditional Marriage

Freedom to disagree and the right to private conscience are fundamental liberties in any truly open society. Yet, the Government has utterly failed to consider the impact on civil liberty of its plans to redefine marriage (See their proposals here).

I have already given ten ways in which these new proposals will undermine civil liberties.

The Coalition for Marriage has just released a new leaflet outlining ten case histories of people who have already been punished in various ways for standing for traditional marriage.

In it they argue that redefining marriage is sold as a permissive measure, but it will quickly become coercive. In fact, they say, it already has. Too many people have already been punished for expressing their sincere beliefs about marriage. If marriage is redefined, it will get much worse. The ten examples they quote are as follows. In each case I have added links to the relevant news coverage.

1. Adrian Smith (pictured) was demoted and had his salary cut by 40 per cent, all because he said gay weddings in churches would be ‘an equality too far’. He wrote those four words outside work time on his personal Facebook page which was not visible to the general public.

2. Peter and Hazelmary Bull were ordered to pay £3,600 in damages because their B&B had a policy of only allowing married couples to share a double bed.

3. David Burrowes MP received a death threat after he said redefining marriage is unnecessary because civil partnerships already give same-sex couples legal equality with married couples.

4. Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, received hate mail – some of a racist nature – after he spoke out against the Government’s plans to redefine marriage. North Yorkshire Police investigated the correspondence as hate crimes.

5. Rhys & Esther Curnow are young newly-weds who delivered a 500,000-strong petition against redefining marriage to Number 10 Downing Street. They were targeted online with threatening and hate-filled messages, sparking a police investigation.

6. World Congress of Families had a conference about redefining marriage banned by the Law Society and the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre because just discussing the subject would be a breach of ‘diversity policies’.

7. Arthur McGeorge is a bus driver who faced disciplinary action by his bosses just because he shared a petition backing traditional marriage at work during his break time.

8. Dr Bill Beales, a respected headmaster, faced calls for his suspension after he said in a school assembly that people were being ‘placed on trial’ for holding traditional beliefs about marriage.

9. Lillian Ladele, a registrar at Islington Council, was pushed out of her job because she asked her managers to accommodate her belief that marriage is the union of one man to one woman.

10. Dr Angela McCaskill is a deaf diversity officer at a university in America. She was suspended because she signed a petition saying voters should decide whether marriage should be redefined.


  1. of course prejudice and bigotry only work one way

    1. Of course! Either that, or Petey-boy is the king of the cherry-pickers.

  2. Curious as to why you didn't note that your headline victim had the decision overturned on appeal, and that his right to private views of displeasure were supported by most gay activists.

  3. And number 2 is misleading as well. The B&B owners allowed non-married heterosexual couples to use their double beds.

  4. It is certainly quite frightening the way things are going.

  5. I fail to see the relevance of 10 as it's in the US
    The headmaster has received adverse comment (the freedom to disagree you tout in your first sentence) but I believe no action has been taken against him?

    A number of these are related to abusive comments online, and reported death threats which I, and sensible people certainly don't condone, but clearly goes both ways (I suspect plenty of gays down the years and nowadays have received abuse death threats - pretending this goes one way is clearly ridiculous).

    The B&B owners case has been well tread before so I won't discuss that.

    Most seem much of a muchness too me.

  6. Number 8 is my favorite. He faced calls for his dismissal, oooh, scarrrrry. Just like, you know, every other person in a leadership position in recorded history. That's not a punishment, it comes with the job.

  7. People who claim to have received hate mail or death threats are victims of nothing. As for number 10, she was suspended WITH pay and reinstated. She's a victim of nothing as well.

  8. 3. David Burrowes MP - The MP'S office confirmed the alleged death threat came before he spoke against gay marriage yet some elements of the media reported the opposite. In one story he claims it happened online and in another it was delivered through his letterbox. There was no police investigation to confirm whether it actually happened in the first place therefore I find his claims un-credible.

    4. John Sentamu - The received death threats and emails were from racists on account of his skin colour. There was nothing in these emails that suggested he was being threatened because of his stance on same-sex marriage
    A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said of the emails: "We can confirm that a complaint has been received from the office of Archbishop John Sentamu, following the receipt of emails containing racially offensive statements. The emails are being investigated as a hate crime"

    5. Rhys & Esther Curnow - You claim they were subjected to so much abuse it "sparked a police investigation." In reality the police investigated and concluded that no threats were made against the couple and no laws had been broken.
    "Northumbria police confirmed there was in fact no evidence of direct threats to the couple and therefore no criminal messages had been sent"

  9. Seems like the most of the readers commenting on this article would have very different opinions if the content supported their philosophical beliefs.


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