George Broadhead of the UK gay humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT) has criticised Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s condemnation of gay marriage, calling the cardinal’s pronouncement predictable and bizarre.
As with many of his Catholic-clergy colleagues, including his boss Pope Benedict XVI, O’Brien – who is the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland – is known for his anti-equality views as far as the rights of gay people are concerned.
At the weekend, the cardinal criticised UK-government plans to allow gay people to marry their same-sex partners as “a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right [that would] shame the United Kingdom in the eyes of the world”.
Yesterday, writing in an article for the Sunday Telegraph, in which he set out his opposition to gay marriage, the cardinal claimed, “As an institution, marriage long predates the existence of any state or government. It was not created by governments and should not be changed by them.”
Today, in response, the veteran gay-rights activist George Broadhead, replied: “Given the Roman Catholic Church’s well-known views and policy on gay sexual relationships and rights, including Civil Partnership, not to mention Cardinal O’Brien’s previous homophobic outbursts, his latest are totally predictable. His contention that gay marriage would shame the UK in the eyes of the world is also bizarre.”
Broadhead took the opportunity to remind O’Brien that, to date, no fewer than ten countries – Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Norway, Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Sweden – had already passed laws to legalise same-sex marriage without shaming themselves in the eyes of the rest of the world. “I am not aware that any of these countries have suffered shame or any sort of pariah status as a result. This just shows how out of touch with reality the Roman Catholic Church has become, he said.
The Pink Triangle Trust – which derives its name from the pink triangle that gay men were forced to wear by the Nazis in concentration camps during the Second World War – is a registered charity. As its website proclaims, “[It] was set up in 1992 to advance the education of the public and particularly of lesbians and gay men, in the principles and practice of Humanism and to advance the education of the public, and particularly of Humanists, about all aspects of homosexuality.”
The PTT is the publisher of the Pink Humanist and Gay & Lesbian Humanist magazines, and a member of IHEU – the International Humanist and Ethical Union – as well as the Cutting Edge Consortium and the Alliance for a Secular Europe. Each year it sponsors the UK Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans History Month. Broadhead has been its secretary since its inception.