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We now know that Nick Clegg thinks (whatever he publicly says) that those opposed to ‘gay marriage’ are bigots. That’s why their rights will be removed

The new law will have far-reaching consequences for schools, hospitals, foster carers and public buildings – and that’s just the start

By on Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Nick Clegg, centre, says he would 'never use' the word bigot (Photo: PA)

Nick Clegg, centre, says he would 'never use' the word bigot (Photo: PA)

Nick Clegg has, it seems, become embroiled in a row over gay marriage, after comments emerged by mistake in the draft version of a speech in which he originally intended to describe as “bigots” all those who oppose the proposed legislation to redefine the nature of marriage. The Deputy Prime Minister was expected to launch an attack on those fighting the policy – which includes quite a few Tory MPs – in a speech at a reception in London. But the wording of initial extracts released to the media was suddenly changed, and Clegg later insisted he never intended to use such language since it was “not the kind of word” he would ever use. Well, not in public, anyway.

What the BBC report describes as “sources close to Mr Clegg” (ie Clegg himself) said the use of the word “bigot” was “a mistake”, and that the “early draft” of his speech should not have been released to the press. He later addressed the issue at the event in central London, attended by celebrity campaigners and religious figures who back legalising gay marriage. “I am a little bit surprised,” he said, “to see cameras assembled outside the gates, for the slightly obscure, surprising reason that they expect me to use a word about opponents of gay marriage that I had no intention of using, would never use”. While he “stridently disagreed” with those opposing the legalisation of gay marriage, Mr Clegg said he would “never seek to engage in debate in insulting terms”. The real point, of course, is that though he wouldn’t use that particular B word — (which has become politically taboo since it got Gordon Brown into such trouble when he used it to describe someone who simply reflected a widespread anxiety over immigration) – it is pretty clear that, whether or not he physically uttered the word in public, it’s what he thinks, and probably says, in private.

“Bigots” didn’t get into his first draft by not reflecting what he actually believes. One difference between a first draft and a second draft is that what you, finally, actually say has ironed out anything that might get you into trouble. But what he did say is worth repeating: “I stridently disagree,” he said in his actual speech, with those opposing the legalisation of gay marriage. That means he thinks they are bigots. He would “never seek to engage in debate in insulting terms” because he knows it’s politically risky. But the legislation that he and Cameron are cooking up will be constructed on the assumption that those opposed are indeed bigots, and that once the legislation is on the statute book, they will have no more right meaningfully to oppose it than they would have to stir up racial hatred.

That, or something very like it, is certainly the conclusion that Aidan O’Neill QC — who is described in a Telegraph report as being an expert on religious freedom and human rights — appears to have come to. He thinks, for instance, that schools will be within their statutory rights to dismiss staff who “wilfully fail” (presumably that means “refuse”) to use stories or textbooks promoting same-sex marriage. He also concludes that parents who object to gay marriage being taught to their children will have no right to withdraw their child from lessons.

In a report commissioned by the Coalition for Marriage, who asked him to assess the likely knock-on legal consequences of any proposed gay marriage legislation, he writes that any decision to redefine marriage will have far-reaching consequences for schools, hospitals, foster carers and public buildings. The most serious impact is likely to be felt, he thinks, in the church where vicars and priests conducting religious marriage ceremonies could be taken to court for refusing to carry out a gay wedding.

They will, he says, be powerless to stop same-sex couples demanding the same weddings as heterosexuals under the European Convention on Human Rights. Churches would be in a stronger legal position if they were to stop conducting weddings altogether: “Churches might indeed better protect themselves against the possibility of any such litigation by deciding not to provide marriage services at all, since there could be no complaint then of discrimination in their provision of services as between same-sex and opposite-sex couples.”

They obviously can’t do that. But how valid are these alarming conclusions? Isn’t he just telling the Coalition for Marriage what it wants to hear? Well, as I wrote here in June, Mr Cameron, despite what he is telling Parliament has, it seems been telling his constituents in Witney that “religious marriage” will inevitably be affected by his proposed legislation. Inevitably? Well, according to Neil Addison, a specialist in discrimination law, “once same-sex marriage has been legalised then the partners to such a marriage are entitled to exactly the same rights as partners in a heterosexual marriage. This means that if same-sex marriage is legalised in the UK it will be illegal for the Government to prevent such marriages happening in religious premises.”

“Inevitably” – that’s the word the Prime Minister has been using to his constituents – “inevitably” religious marriage will be affected: in other words, whatever he tells Parliament about his proposed legislation affecting only civil marriage, he knows it isn’t true.

As for the conclusion of Aidan O’Neill QC, that schools will be within their statutory rights to dismiss staff who refuse to use stories or textbooks promoting same-sex marriage and that parents who object to gay marriage being taught to their children will have no right to withdraw their children from lessons, does that sound at all unlikely to you, given the cases of the Strasbourg four, which I wrote about last week, and which were considered by the ECJ last Tuesday?

Not at all, surely: what’s unlikely about it? After all, our political masters think that such people are just bigots. Why should they have any rights to exercise their bigotry? That’s why the legislation will effectively remove those rights. And that’s the country, these are the times, in which we are living now.

  • Tim T-Robertson

    Quite so. Who in fact are the bigots ?  Those who believe in the continuation of marriage as it has always been, regardless of creed or culture, since God blessed the union of the first couple, Adam and Eve,  and said to them, “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1: 28)  – something no same sex couple will be able to do ? Or that tiny minority who are seeking to redefine the true meaning of marriage in order to force their “obstinate and intolerant view” (the OED definition of a bigot) on the rest of the world ?

  • teigitur

    As Alice thomas Ellis said. “There is no-one so illiberal as a crossed liberal”

  • orapronobis

    Presumably Mr Clegg believes that Jews and Muslims are also bigots?

  • Meena

    I’m sure some Jews and some Muslims (together with some Catholics) are bigots.

  • Charles Martel

    Deviance becomes tolerated and then later on rammed down our throats. All effective revolutions are carried out this way. Homosexual marriage, along with ANY KIND OF HOMOSEXUAL CIVIL UNION is totally condemned by the Catholic Church and no Catholic may approve of it or fail to oppose it. We must strain every sinew against this abomination in order to defeat it and bury it for all time. This is a grave and solemn duty of all men and women of good will who recognise the Natural Law, let alone members of the only true religion pleasing to God.

  • Alexander VI

    Well, anyone who believes in the existence of Adam and Eve is a bigot….

  • Guest

    If a bigot is one who holds to views rendered untenable by recourse to evidence then there must be many Liberal Democrats whose socialist and keynesian economics reveal them as such. Or is “bigot” just another way of trying to discredit someone with whom Mr Clegg disagrees?  He will be saying they are subject to phobias next

  • Rebel Saint

    As we all know, the contemporary definition of a bigot is: someone who beats a liberal in an argument.

    It is an epitaph to be worn with pride. I add it to my collection of “hateful”, “intolerant”, “homophobe”, “denier” & “fascist”.

  • Rebel Saint

    As we all know, the contemporary definition of a bigot is: someone who beats a liberal in an argument.
    It is an epitaph to be worn with pride. I add it to my collection of “hateful”, “intolerant”, “homophobe”, “denier” & “fascist”.

  • firstparepidemos

    I find it incredibly sad that so many comments in this thread are simply unChrist-like. Those who are unable to promote and defend Catholic teaching without insulting or degrading remarks do the Church – and Christ – a great disservice.

  • la catholic state

    Very upsetting to know that the ‘the great and the good’ ie those in power over you, think that you and your family are bigots.  No doubt the next step will be to outlaw such bigotry and jail such bigots, even if it means splitting up perfectly happy normal law-abiding decent families (to use Mr Cameron’s favourite phrase).  How evil!

    Those who wish to do this are the real bigots, Mr Clegg!!

  • whosegod

    The Pope denounces gays as wicked. And that’s his right (in fact his obligation?). Sure. Others denounce the Pope as wicked. But it’s not their right? Catholics can’t have it both ways. We get to bully you, but you bully us? How un-seemly, how un-holy.

    “A rich man shall hardly enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Thus spoke our Saviour.) No surprise there. ALL Catholics are cafeteria Christians. They all pick and choose which scripture suits them, Jesuit, Dominican, Franciscan or the Order of the Rainbow. (joke).

    When was the last time Benedict denounced the wealthy? (Read: Not wealth above God. But Wealth PERIOD. Never. He too has his Golden Calf.)

    Savage hypocrisy. Savage Cruelty. Unworthy of our Pontiff. Unworthy of The Church of God.


  • Furry Animal

    Liberlism believes in your freedom to be anything…so long as its a liberal. It’s just another bit of the curse of the “Enlightenment”.

  • Mark

    Equality was originally defined to mean equal political rights; it later became linguistically distorted to mean government promoted sameness. So any form of marriage can be deemed the same as traditional marriage; incest, group marriage, and interspecies marriage can not be argued against since they’re all the same.
    Our language must be specified that only one man and one woman have a right to marry each other because it effects potential children and society in that we are biologically programmed to be raised by a mother and a father. All other forms are not marriage and the government should not allow them to adopt nor encourage them to have children.

  • whosegod

    Replace the word bigot with homophobe and it’s check-mate. Mate.


  • Ghengis

     Meena is an anti-Catholic bigot who enjoys aggravating people on this site. If consistently ignored, she may find a life outside of irritating Conservative bloggers.

  • whosegod

    Odd. Fascists exterminated homosexuals and Pius was silent. For your own argument, to conflate the two is nothing but embarrassing. (When was the last time homosexuals burned Catholics at the pyre?)

  • ScotsCatholic

    The only bigots are those who appear to know no bounds when aggressively and intolerantly bashing the Catholic, or indeed Christian, faith in the UK.  People of faith are standing up for what they truly believe in.  Those of no faith are relying on a self-awarded, heavily inflated superiority to drive faith out of the nation.  Who, therefore, is being reasonable?  Whose rights are being contravened in this situation?

  • Solent Rambler

    I regret to say that I can’t find any statement written or spoken where the Pope “denounces gays as wicked”.  

    Please would you give some references where he has done this? 

  • tim

    “The Pope denounces gays as wicked”
    Im fairly sure he hasn’t. Can you provide a quote and source?

  • teigitur

    Quite. But the comic element to most of his/her posts are amusing.

  • Rebel Saint

    Congratulations on missing the point entirely!

  • theroadmaster

    Clegg’s decision to excise the word “bigot” from the issued version of his speech to parliament does nothing to persuade the opponents of his governments attempt to extend marriage to same-sex couples, that the offensive term initially used, did not reflect his own private thoughts or those of his parliamentary party colleagues.  In fact, it is typical of the lazy thought processes at work and the lack of intellectual vigour, displayed by many of the vociferous supporters of this current campaign.  They are trying to smear honorable opponents with the same type of descriptions that one would reserve for racists and thus neutralize those who would dare to offer a contrary argument.  Supporters of the authentic vision of marriage and family should not be cowed by such disingenuous attempts to undermine their case, and should continue to rally and coalesce across Britain to demonstrate their opposition.

  • Meena

    Who would have thought, from its name, that “The Coalition for Marriage” is actually AGAINST marriage for gay human beings? Talk about 1984, George Orwell and doublespeak! 

    Never mind, I can hear the scoffs and tut-tuts. This is correct and justified doublespeak, they say (with which God would be pleased), does she [Meena] not know this (the silly, evil bigot!) ?

    Well you might be right – but then again, you might be very wrong.

    Has it ever occurred to those who are so very full of their own (and the official Church’s) righteousness, that they could (just possibly, you know) be quite wrong – and that in 10 years, or 50 years or in 150 years – I would guess around 10 to 20, at most – the Catholic Church might revise its present opinion?
    The ignorant will say that this has never happened before, and never can. But the better informed will know that it has, and can (will) again.
    Of course conservatives (small “c” and large “C”, like Dr Oddie) –  will do their best (as is the norm) to slow it down.

  • Honeybadger


  • Honeybadger

    I wouldn’t trust Nick Clegg as far as I’d throw him. Why? He’s two-faced.

  • Parasum

    “But what he did say is worth repeating: “I stridently disagree,” he said in his actual speech, with those opposing the legalisation of gay marriage. That means he thinks they are bigots.”

    ## Are all those who “stridently disagree” with Mr. Oddie on this issue, “bigots” ? Or is he a “bigot” because he “stridently disagree[s]” with them ?

    ## Surely the answer to both questions is “No”. And equally surely, it ought to be possible for people taking different views on a subject. however vigorous their disagreement, to be able to disagree without reproaching each other. 

     “Not at all, surely: what’s unlikely about it? After all, our political masters think that such people are just bigots. Why should they have any rights to exercise their bigotry? That’s why the legislation will effectively remove those rights. And that’s the country, these are the times, in which we are living now.”

    ## Why is it that some Catholics sound as though they *want* to be “persecuted”, and would be disappointed  if they weren’t ? Why the insistence on putting the worst face on things ? And what became of St. Paul’s “As far as is possible, live at peace with all men ?” How is this joyless predicting of what may never happen anything like Christian hope ? “Ay, do despise me! I’m the prouder for it; I like to be despised,” is what a lot of this talk of persecution sounds like. 

  • Wildone

    So in short , by reading Charles Martel’s comment here , i must say >>> ARE YOU COMPLETELY INSANE ???  You may believe in God and the Catholic Church, and allthough i respect your believes , it’s utterly insane to force your believes upon others who do not or force them to change their believes in any way , sexual , religious or other ways (if not illegal). The Bible was written by MEN , in the Conclave of Nicaea powerfull MEN decided what to put in the Bible and what not and this was done with the sole purpose of controlling people. In no way it is the word of God , so no weight should be put on the words in it. Everybody should learn to respect people of any race , religion or sexual tendacies ( if not illegal) and as long as people like you exsist there will be murder , wars and such in this world. Ya might wanna go visit the Wizard and go ask for a brain !!!

  • gentlemind

    Well said theroadmaster. It is vital that those who know what marriage is (there is no need to say “believe”) actively defend it. If people can find the time to comment on a blog they ought to be able to find the time to (at least) contact their MP.

  • Lazarus

    Idle to ask if you’ve ever experienced self-doubt on this, Meena….?

    Given your status as a world renowned Cambridge historian, you’ll realize that, just as society’s changed its judgments before on same sex attraction, it will change them again. (That’s as certain as the fact that the Catholic Church can’t change its views on this.) The only question is when. I’m sure I won’t be around to see it, but I pray that my children will.

  • Meena

    Idle to ask if you’ve ever experienced self-doubt on this, Meena….?”

    I refer you to my one-line, third paragraph, above.

  • Meena

    Those who believe in the continuation of marriage as it has always been,..”

    Marriage has changed out of all recognition within the life-times of most people alive today.

    The OED definition of “bigot” takes several pages. I assume you have rarely passed beyond the W H Smith-style version.

  • Lazarus

    “Well you might be right – but then again, you might be very wrong.”

    Don’t see it, Meena. You’re merely stating the logical possibilities there. Judging from the rest of your comment, you sound distinctly sure of your position.

  • scary goat

    Hmmmm…..I don’t know about this one, I’ve got mixed feelings.  I’ve tended towards the view of “let them get on with it” on the basis that secular marriage is already so far removed from Catholic sacramental marriage that it really doesn’t make much difference.  I also doubt that the state could enforce “gay marriage” on the Catholic Church for all sorts of reasons.  I must admit, however, that I hadn’t considered the implications for schools. Yes, if gay marriage becomes legal, of course schools will then be forced to teach it, along with all their other already abysmal  sex education.  All youngsters in this country will be indoctrinated to believe that gay marriage is “normal”.  Will our Catholic schools be exempt? At present we have to comply with legislation requiring sex education starting in primary school, but we are allowed to teach it according to our faith understanding.  Will we keep our exempt status on this, or not?  Or will perceived “homophobia” move into the same category as “racism” for example?  What exactly are the implications for our schools?  Anyone know?

  • Charles Martel

     You say you respect my believes (sic), Wildone, but you ask whether I am COMPLETELY INSANE. Hmmm. I wonder which side of your mouth I can trust.
    And, by the way, it’s not normal people who are forcing their believes (sic) on others; it’s the homosexual clique and their fellow travellers who are forcing this unwanted change on us, despite immemorial and universal custom which defines marriage as the union of man and woman.
    I could go further and point out the relativistic meaninglessness of your “Everybody should learn to respect people of any race , religion or sexual tendacies (sic) ( if not illegal)”, but I doubt you’d be able to follow the argument.

  • Johannes

    People called us “bigots” when we claimed that parents’ homosexual relationships can have negative effects on their children.

    And now, with Prof Mark Regnerus’ study at The University of Texas at Austin* finding that “children raised by homosexual parents are more likely than those raised by married heterosexual parents to suffer from poor impulse control, depression and suicidal thoughts”, it’s safe to say that we’ve been vindicated on this issue.

    However, even when our views are evidenced and backed-up by scholarly research, this doesn’t make people re-appraise their position and credit us with proclaiming the truth. In fact, in Mark Regnerus’ case, one disgruntled “gay-activist blogger accused Regnerus of academic fraud”. Only now, “after sequestering all of Regnerus’s correspondence and conducting both written and oral interviews with him and his accuser, Scott Rosensweig” could UT-Austin research integrity officer Robert Peterson write that “none of the allegations of scientific misconduct put forth … were substantiated either by physical data, written materials, or by information provided during the interviews.”

    We have to keep witnessing to the truth, whether people and politicians like it or not. And now we’re starting to see, when academics actually research this stuff, that we’ve been right all along.

    *Full story here:

  • Wildone

    Yes , i do respect your believes , aslong as you don’t force your believes onto others , which you clearly do. The ” homosexual clique “as you call them , didn’t choose to be what they are , you did make that choice and i wouldn’t call you normal , not by a long shot. And then in your believe system God created all , so he created homosexuals aswell , do i sense doubt in Gods plans here ? Forcing unwanted change onto you , well it makes me wonder then if you still believe in a flat world and the burning of witches ? The world changes , try to do this aswell. And i would gladly ask you to point out the relativistic meaninglessness of that statement. If you can’t understand how important that is then i don’t have any hope of you to be able to follow any argument that is not in your narrow minded believe system !!!

  • Wildone

    Ooh and btw , homosexuality isn’t deviant by a long shot , it’s consensual sex between two people , something that can’t bring harm to anybody else. Pedofily on the other hand is harmfull because it’s not consensual and it brings terrible harm to the children miss used this way , which they carry around for their whole lives. Ooh and who are again very busy in this field ? Ooh yeah , a lotta clerics from your religion ( probably also others ) , those socalled men of God , makes ya wonder doesn’t it ? It is far more unnatural to obstain from sexual activities , it often creates deviant behaviour , then to participate in consensual sex of any kind ( if not illegal ) and again this makes ya wonder ………

  • la catholic state

    I’m not sure all Catholic primary schools teach or must teach sex-education. 

  • scary goat

     Well, I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure they do. We have an amazingly good sex-education scheme in our diocese. It doesn’t get as far as human relationships till year six, after it has set the context previously over several years …..creation, reproduction, plants, fish, birds, rabbits.  It goes into detail about rabbit families, social behaviour, role of the male/female, caring for the young etc.  The whole thing is presented in the context of God’s plan.  I’m pretty sure this scheme was prepared  ready for government moves to make sex-education compulsory in primary schools several years ago.

  • la catholic state

    Interesting.  In my parish sex-ed was to be introduced last year in PSHE…..but wasn’t. 

  • scary goat

     Well, if anybody’s looking for a good sex-ed scheme, I would certainly recommend checking out the one we use.  I should think it would be available on request from Clifton diocese.

  • la catholic state

    Thanks.  I’ll keep it in mind should our parish school decide to introduce sex-ed again this year.  Though I’d prefer they didn’t.

  • AnthonyPatrick

     It’s Nick Clegg’s (presumably free) choice of “stridently” that’s the problem with your defence-cum-criticism, though, Parasum.  In common usage it suggests something like ‘excessively forcefully’ as opposed to, say, ‘strongly’ or even simply ‘forcefully’ which would not carry the same overtones of harshness and loudness aimed at the targets of his disagreement.

    Not sure the connection with victim status is fair, though I see your point – but I doubt whether St. Paul’s “As far as possible…” was meant to imply indefinite elasticity, do you?

  • Marcella Carmen C.

    Why are most paedophiles married men, or men who do not have to live celibate lives because they are not RC priests?? answer me that.  New York State figures for child molesters and abusers are out there for anyone to read and they are made up of mostly family men but also a bunch of teachers of every subject but especially sports.  I was attacked aged 8 by family friend, Scots Presbyterian by the way and not obliged to be celibate.

  • Marcella Carmen C.

    When the SORS came out, Christians were assured they could not be targeted successfully by equal rights activists or homosexual bigots.  Yet we find ourselves today having to take on the courts in order to continue to keep our jobs.  Before then, if a family living in their family home did not want to take in a certain kind of guest, they were free to get on with it, because people were free to take their trade elsewhere.  Before then, one could wear a Cross at work and no one would blink.  Today, I may not do that, and my friend who is a working Nun is not allowed to work in a pharmacy with her Habit on but there are many Muslim women wearing the hijab who do work in pharmecies.  Mark my words, permitting gays to be “married” in a civil marriage will turn into a demand for them to be married in religious ceremonies or else…

  • Meena

    Why are most paedophiles married men,..”

    Because most men are married men.

    Catholic religious men do it because they are unnaturally obliged to be celebrate – i.e. “holier” than the rest. A fantasy of course.
    Some, unbigoted observer, might have supposed that celibacy was contrary to the famous Catholic “natural law”. But no – apparently it’s a great thing.

    Celibacy in truth expresses the basic, in-built Catholic dislike of sex and anything to do with it. Unfortunately it’s necessary for reproduction and so tolerated; but only after it has been polished-up by a ceremonial ritual which cleanses it.

  • Meena

    Apologies for typo.

  • Meena

    Yes, this is the catholic position all too often.

    According to this view, the only thing Catholic boys and girls need to know about sex is not to have any of it.

  • Meena

    Mind you there have been notable exceptions. The (Catholic) Birmingham scheme was introduced in that region as a result of an initiative of the then Catholic Bishop of Birmingham, who is now the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster.

    It was introduced because of a large and progressive increase (over more than 10 years) in the numbers of Catholic school-girls becoming pregnant. It was quite successful in stemming the flood of pregnancies.