Poles take some stick

Michal Tomasz Kaminski with Emma McClarkin and Roger, in Brussels, July 15th.

Michal Tomasz Kaminski with Emma McClarkin and Roger, in Brussels, July 15th.

The leader of our new Group in the European parliament, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), is the Polish MEP Michal Tomasz Kaminski.  He is a very sound conservative, and a good friend of mine, and I am delighted that he is the leader of our new group..  As a teenager in communist Poland, he listened covertly to the BCC and the Voice of America on a clandestine radio set, and he was inspired by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.  He decided he wanted to be a conservative, and a parliamentarian, and he achieved both ambitions.  Elected first to the Polish national parliament, he is now an MEP.
 
I have travelled with him to America to visit Republican organisations, and the story of how he came to be a conservative goes down a storm in the US.
 
So it comes as a bit of a surprise to me to find that he is taking some stick from left-leaning British media like the BBC and the Guardian, and worse yet from recently-expelled Conservative MEP Edward Macmillan Scott, for his “racist and homophobic views”.  I have, needless to say, never heard Kaminski express any such views, despite spending quite a lot of time with him.  It was Macmillan Scott, of course, who set out to undermine our new group by making a solo run for the Vice-Presidency of the parliament, in opposition to the new group’s official candidate, Kaminski.  It is clear that Macmillan Scott, who never wanted to leave the EPP, is setting out to destabilise our new group.  Indeed he is openly speculating about whether it will survive.
 
Kaminski in turn has threatened to sue Macmillan Scott if he repeats these views.  It seems that Kaminski’s grandfather fought against the Nazis, and it is preposterous to suggest that Kaminski might have any sympathy with racist or fascist views.  On the contrary, he has devoted his political career to promoting freedom and democracy, and the independence of his country, and to opposing totalitarianism.
 
The accusation of homophobia seems to be based on the claim that Kaminski voted against homosexual “marriage”.  I have no idea whether this is true, although it is certainly the case that his Polish colleague, Konrad Szymanski MEP, has said “We are opposed to homosexual marriages …that is how our MEPs will always vote”.
 
Now I regard myself as liberal and tolerant on the question of homosexuality.  I have no interest in telling consenting adults what they may or may not do behind closed doors.  I have a number of colleagues whom I believe to be homosexual, and that causes me no problems at all.  Indeed there may be more people that I work with, who may be homosexual without my knowing it, since (as a friend once remarked) my “Gay-dar” is poorly developed.  I am content to treat people as people, regardless of race or gender or sexual orientation.
 
But I am, nevertheless, opposed to the concept of homosexual “marriage”, on both semantic and social policy grounds.
 
The institution of marriage has been fundamental to virtually all societies through the whole course of human history, and marriage means the union of a man and a woman, usually with the implicit potential of procreation.  That is what the word means.  I have no problem with a same-sex couple setting up home together, but it devalues language — and the real institution of marriage — to call such an arrangement “marriage”.
 
But the problem is not merely semantic.  Many people naïvely argue that marriage is a private matter between two people, so it is up to them how they organise it.  But it is not.  Wherever the institution of marriage exists, it is a public contract between three parties — a man, a woman and society.  Society recognises that marriage, and the nuclear family which may result, is fundamental to the stability and the future of the society itself.  There is overwhelming evidence that children raised in conventional families do better on a whole range of measures than children raised outside marriage.  This is not to denigrate single parents, who may do a fine job in difficult circumstances.  It is simply a statistical fact.  And society therefore recognises marriage, both in local and informal terms, and more formally and generally through the fiscal, legal and welfare systems.  There is no comparable societal reason to recognise same-sex relationships.
 
That is why I think our Polish colleagues are right to vote against homosexual marriage, and why I would join them in doing so.
 
And while we’re mentioning semantic issues, let me point out that the neologism “homophobia” is not so much a word as a political agenda.  In psychiatry, a phobia is defined as an irrational fear.  I have yet to meet anyone who has an irrational fear of homosexuals, or of homosexuality.  So to the extent that the word has any meaning at all, it describes something which simply does not exist.  “Homophobia” is merely a propaganda device designed to denigrate and stigmatise those holding conventional opinions, which have been held by most people through most of recorded history.  It is frightening evidence of the way in which political correctness is threatening our freedom.  It is creating “thought crimes”, where merely to hold a conventional opinion is seen, in itself, to be unacceptable and reprehensible.  I’m sorry, but I don’t buy it.

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94 Responses to Poles take some stick

  1. Alfred says:

    Well put, thank you.

  2. John Bull says:

    Nice try Roger, you’ve slipped the punches nicely but still failed to land any of your own. The issue is not a semantic one, it is one of discrimination. Should homosexual couples be given the same privileges under law available to heterosexuals? If not, why? What rational basis have you for this discrimination?

    Secondly you naively state “There is overwhelming evidence that children raised in conventional families do better on a whole range of measures than children raised outside marriage,” as if it is self evident that one factor causes the other. Well, yes you might well argue that, however just because A and B are directly correlated it doesn’t mean that they are each other’s determining factor. Surely if this was the case you would expect countries where divorce rates are extremely low, and the normative situation remains that of a strong nucleated family to produce the most successful children? I do not believe this to be the case, do you know perhaps why this is not the case? I think a more interesting line of inquiry would be to assess the link between socio-economic background and divorce rates. Children are less likely to be successful because they come from low income backgrounds where there is less opportunity open to them than to children from wealthier backgrounds, this is far more important in determining their levels of success in life than family situations.

    Another interesting point would be to conduct a study of how successful children raised in stable homosexual households are in comparison to those raised in stable heterosexual households. To the best of my knowledge no such long term study has been conducted, and it is one I believe necessary, for how can one legislate in ignorance of the true facts in this case? It does seem a little easy to simple state that heterosexual households are better when homosexuals have nothing to defend themselves by!

  3. John Bull: You ask “Why homosexuals should be discriminated against compared to heterosexuals”, which suggests you have not read my piece, in which I answer exactly that question. Although I deny that it constitutes discrimination. It is just that same-sex couples have chosen to enter into a relationship in which marriage is not relevant, or appropriate, or indeed possible. You might as well ask why we discriminate against scuba divers by not giving them parachutes like we give to test pilots. It’s because parachutes are irrelevant to what scuba divers have chosen to do.

    • John Bull says:

      I do not think the criteria consistent enough to support legal differentiation. You argue marriage to be a contract between a couple and society, with society recognising marriage to be an excellent means of social stabilisation as well as future survival. However, should not homosexual couples no less “stable” than heterosexual couples who marry and yet choose not to reproduce, or adopt for that matter, not be granted the same rights under the law? If not why not? Because, if you do decide not to grant similar rights to homosexuals despite them fulfilling the same criteria as heterosexual couples who choose not to reproduce, (yours not mine, I happen to hold a more libertarian view of marriage, why should one have to serve society rather than the emotional wishes of those involved, provided of course that these emotional needs do not violate the rights of others?) then the sole determining factor becomes their sexuality, and if this is the case then this is indeed discriminatory. So why not give scuba gear or parachutes to those who are unable to use them as well as those who, while being perfectly able to dive, be it from a plane or under the waves, decide instead to remain on dry land?

    • burkesworks says:

      You wrote;
      It is just that same-sex couples have chosen to enter into a relationship in which marriage is not relevant, or appropriate, or indeed possible.

      Give me your reasoning behind why marriage is not as “relevant” or “appropriate” for same-sex couples as for heterosexual ones, or for that matter why you state it shouldn’t be “possible”. I fail to see any logic behind your statement.

  4. Yes John. And perhaps special rights for co-habiting siblings (elderly spinster sisters, for example), and for students sharing a flat, and for soldiers sharing a barracks? In fact for everyone? Married couples raise the families on which future generations depend. Same-sex couples do not. QED.

    • Philip says:

      One of the advantages of Civil Partnerships, or hopefully gay marriage, is precisely that you don’t start getting these other groups you list all claiming special rights. Marriage should indeed be special, but it should be available to all, gay or straight.

  5. Joseph Conrad says:

    Roger, you could try taking the biggest allegation against Kaminski head on: he has been accused of anti-Semitism. The fact is that in 2001 he didn’t want his country to apologize for a horrendous though one-off WW2 massacre of about 1600 Polish Jews by a gang of about 40 Polish Gentiles at Jedwabne. Kaminski had a point – the said Poles were convicted of murder and treason. The group were in no way acting on behalf of the Polish nation, which abhorred the crime and tended in fact to be a friend to the Jews (as Isreal has documented at Yad Vashem) by contrast to the Vichy French for example. Would we expect the Queen to apologize on behalf of the United Kingdom if a BNP gang went and murdered 1600 British Muslims? No, we’d want due procedure in court, convict the gang of murder and treason and lock the gang up for life imprisonment. I think that was Kaminski’s point, but do please check it out and then lets hear the defence. Its a cheap shot by the British Left to call him an anti-semite. They dont care about Polish history, they care about finding something, anything, to make them look better than the Tories right now. Using the Holocaust is sick.

  6. Joseph Conrad says:

    It also needs to be pointed out that false allegations of anti-Semitism were used by the socialist Joseph Stalin, to justify his mass murder of pro-democracy people throughout Central and Eastern Europe in the late 1940s. The moment an individual in East Germany, or Hungary, or Czechoslovakia protested against his imposition of totalitarianism, he’d be shut up with allegation that he was a fascist and an anti-Semite and would then be sent off to the Gulags. The British Left accuse your allies of anti-Semitism, time to accuse them of Stalinism, thought control, doublespeak and terror tactics.

  7. Philip says:

    Frankly I’ve never read such nonsense, particularly from someone who is involved with a “freedom association”. If homophobia doesn’t exist, could you please explain why millions of gay people around the world hide their sexuality for their entire lives; and why, even in relatively tolerant countries like the UK, there are still countless verbal and even physical attacks on gay people specifically for this reason? Or are you seriously suggesting that every single one of these incidents are just coincidental to the fact that the victim is gay?

    As for marriage, of course it has an influence on society, so why on earth should gay people be denied it? Gay people contribute a vast amount to this country in many respects, financially, through charity work, adopting children (whose heterosexual parents can no longer cope with them, presumably), etc etc. Ask any cabbie or policemen, and they will invariably tell you that gay people are among the most decent, law-abiding people in society. Civil Partnerships are an excellent idea, and the sooner they become full marriage, the better.

    Just so you know, I am a Tory voter, in my 40s and economically on the right. The Tories have – very sensibly – embraced gay people as equal to straight people in recent years, but unless they denounce the homophobic comments of these new Euro “allies”, they are going to lose a lot of respect (and votes) on this issue.

  8. Richard Borrett says:

    1: A contradiction: “I have no interest in telling consenting adults what they may or may not do behind closed doors.”
    This is followed swiftly by a number of paragraphs doing precisely that. Yes, I understand that you have attempted to justify this with the notion that the marriage involves society but this is simply an insufficient attempt to justify prejudice, for two reasons. Firstly, look to the religious roots of marriage in almost all nations and you will see words, imagery and rituals which indicate that it is between two individuals (and God). The nature of marriage is about the affirmation of and commitment to a loving relationship between two individuals. It has only been male-female by convention and this is not a defining or delimiting factor.
    Secondly, the ‘statistical’ evidence you cite has never established any cause-and-effect in the links you (rightly) point out between stable, two-parent families and success.
    This evidence also only relates to the distinction between ‘conventional’ (i.e. married, two parent) families, and single parent or no parent families (i.e. children in the care system). Therefore, this data is clearly not applicable to the comparison between a heterosexual two-parent family and a homosexual two-parent family. There is no basis whatsoever to suggest that the statistical difference is due to there being one parent of either sex, as there is no control group with whom to compare. It is not necessary to repeat the argument comparing a loving 2-parent (same sex) home to an unstable upbringing, but this is the point the statistics suggest, not yours.

    2: A Fallacy. “same-sex couples have chosen to enter into a relationship in which marriage is not relevant, or appropriate, or indeed possible”
    Firstly, I need not point out the obvious error that same-sex couples have ‘chosen’ to enter into a same-sex relationship. This is no more true than it would be true to say that you have ‘chosen’ to enter into a heterosexual relationship – this argument is trite, however, and well-documented.
    Is this not a rather cold view of marriage. I understand your view that it is a necessary part of the fabric of society, but you must also accept that it has at least some personal element to it, an element of love, commitment and celebration of a relationship. Accept, for the sake of argument, my point that it is this and nothing more. An expression and celebration of Love and Commitment, in the sight of friends and family and (for those of faith), God. What possible element of this could be ‘irrelevant, appropriate or possible’ in a Homosexual relationship? I apologise for pre-empting your response to this, but so far as I can see there is no rational, ‘liberal’ justification for a stance which clearly suggests that a homosexual relationship is less loving, less committed and therefore of less worth than a heterosexual one. In my view, all arguments against gay marriage, when dissected, lead to this same conclusion. And this conclusion most certainly is discriminating.

    • Max Waters says:

      The entire article is riddled with fallacies, the use of the disanalogy:
      “You might as well ask why we discriminate against scuba divers by not giving them parachutes like we give to test pilots.” This and the subject of marriage do not relate in the slightest.
      There is also the barefaced, outright lie: ‘”Homophobia” is merely a propaganda device designed to denigrate and stigmatise those holding conventional opinions, which have been held by most people through most of recorded history.’ If by conventional opinions, he means ones that are not accepting of homosexuality, he is quite wrong. It is only really a fairly recent thing, and came as a result of a relatively modern interpretation of Christianity.
      Emperor Hadrian of Rome kept a homosexual lover, the entire Spartan army was either homosexual or bi-sexual and were in fact required by society to keep a male lover. In many tribal societies, a homosexual relationship is considered essential to learning how to become an adult. In Japan, homosexuality has always been encouraged and was once actually something only reserved for the higher-classes.
      This is what wound me up the most, however, “But the problem is not merely semantic. Many people naïvely argue that marriage is a private matter between two people, so it is up to them how they organise it. But it is not. Wherever the institution of marriage exists, it is a public contract between three parties — a man, a woman and society. Society recognises that marriage, and the nuclear family which may result, is fundamental to the stability and the future of the society itself. There is overwhelming evidence that children raised in conventional families do better on a whole range of measures than children raised outside marriage. This is not to denigrate single parents, who may do a fine job in difficult circumstances. It is simply a statistical fact. And society therefore recognises marriage, both in local and informal terms, and more formally and generally through the fiscal, legal and welfare systems. There is no comparable societal reason to recognise same-sex relationships.

      That is why I think our Polish colleagues are right to vote against homosexual marriage, and why I would join them in doing so.”
      Nowhere in the above quote is an actual reason, or well thought out argument for why homosexuals can’t marry. It only states that marriage is between a man, a woman, and society. However, this is a shaky defence at best. It provides some studies that show correlations between married parents’ children doing better at school than single parent children, however it does not say anything about homosexuals.
      Please attempt to justify your discrimination better, and try to present it in a way that is far less easy to unpick. Or you could always take the time to educate yourself in homosexuality? See that the divides are not so great.

      • Peter Wilton says:

        Why have I received an email to which I may not reply concerning a thread which was supposed not to be taking any more postings since August 2009, but which has taken a posting from Max Waters? If I’m forced to read such bigoted tosh, then let’s have a forum in which it can be countered.

  9. Roger Helmer says:

    Helpful comments, Joseph. Thank you. I am just waiting for someone to accuse ME of anti-Semitism, and I shall be delighted to point out that in July I had a young student from UCL doing work experience in my office. She just happened to be a strict Orthodox Jewess. I had her scour the internet for a Kosher restaurant in Brussels (there seem only to be one or two), and I took her and my other staff to dinner there.

  10. Terry says:

    Roger, for your exposure of “homophobia” you deserve the immediate leadership of the conservative party, a knighthood, and hearty congratulations…you get the gist, but bravo for someone who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. I salute you sir.

    • SIAN PITTS says:

      Terry, you’re making me laugh out loud with your ironic reply to this vicious homophobe! (you are joking, right?! because surely no-one would be that blatently hateful……….)

  11. Roger Helmer says:

    Richard Borrett is a bit confused. He quotes me (rightly) saying I don’t mind what people do behind closed doors, and then he says I go on to do just that. Nonsense, Richard. I challenged whether society should publicly accept the possibility of marriage between same-sex couples. That is an issue in the public space, not a private issue behind closed doors.

    Then he challenges my proposition that some people have “chosen to enter into a same-sex relationship”, and he says they no more choose that than heterosexual couples choose to enter into heterosexual relationships. But (leaving aside a few cases of coercion), couples of both persuasions do indeed CHOOSE to enter into their relationships. Richard is confusing this with the quite separate question whether people “choose” to be homo- or hetero-sexual. That is an entiurely different debate.

    • Richard Borrett says:

      If Mr Helmer had properly read and responded to my entire post, he would see that i was not at all confused. I have clearly laid out why the issue is a private one and not a public one, and therefore why he IS telling people what they can do in their own homes. I accept that he is debating whether the public should accept homosexual marriage, but the result of society not accepting it is that couples are told that they cannot marry; hence the result is interference in private lives.

      Additionally, those who are homosexual do not choose to be so. If they are, any relationship they enter into will, of course, be by choice, but the fact of the sex of their partner will not be by choice. The two are inextricably linked. This is a side issue, however, and as it is widely and endlessly debated no purpose is served by continuing to do so here.

      Much more importantly, I see no response at all to my points on the evidence which Mr Helmer misused to satisfy his own ends, and no response to my comments on his view of marriage as ‘irrelevant’ to a loving homosexual relationship.

      I trust Mr Helmer is preparing a more full response to these more pertinent points.

  12. John says:

    I think we have to get the definition of `choose` here. It all depends on whether you think that one `path` is destined and natural and another isn’t. For instance there are still those it seems like you Roger that think that Heterosexuals simply ARE and homosexuals CHOOSE. Many like myself would say that `it chose me`.

    There’s nothing I could do about it short of getting into a relationship based on deceit or simply having a platonic relationship with a woman (but that wouldn’t be marriage as it wouldn’t be consummated). Of course if you’re saying that people should train their brains if it’s at all possible to be bisexual then that works both ways.

    One question:

    1) Is it about sex and consummation? If it is `what is sex?` For instance if sex is one of the lynchpins of marriage legitimacy is it right that two loving 92 year olds that do no more than simply sit around holding hands in an old folks home be allowed to get married and two old codgers who met in that same home not be afforded that right? In essence, you’re asking society or actually the law to define sex and intimacy and make value judgements.

  13. Stevie Eglinton says:

    If society should only recognise a ‘marriage’ on the grounds of it’s potential to be a framework for raising the next generation then why should childless heterosexual marriages be any more recognised than homsexual ones?

    And what a bleak understanding of the complexity and power of human relationships: a reduction to nothing but a framework for raising children. How functional.

    I always ponder if marriage is of such utilitarian importance why the heterosexual community seem so keen to keep it their own sacred right?

    Why does my desire to have my relationship formally recognised by society threaten the welfare state. A welfare state that, as tax payer, I contribute to.

    And while we’re at it, and as I am constantly to be reminded, if I am nothing to do with the raising of future generations I wonder wether it would be presumptious of me to ask if I can claim back some of the taxes I have paid that have been used to pay for incubators, child care schemes and Schools…

    Because it seems rather unfair that I should pay for a society I am not deemed to be part of.

  14. Michael Hudston says:

    Rodger, To quote you from your article – “Now I regard myself as liberal and tolerant on the question of homosexuality.”

    Do you even realise that there are those of us who are gay do not want to be ‘Tolerated’ that in itself is discriminatory and homophobic. It smacks of making do. I don’t want to be tolerated, I want to be able to live my life, I want to be able to hold my boyfriends hand as we walk down the street, with out being shouted at or even worse, physically attacked.

    We will not be able to do that until we are accepted! Something that will never happen whilst those in positions of power, still use language that in its self encourages discrimination.

  15. Peter Wilton says:

    I note that your view of homosexual marriage is that society “has no interest” in promoting such relationships. Is this in fact true? Many of the responses to your comments have focussed on the “human rights” aspect of the argument for gay marriage, perhaps implying the view of marriage that it’s a contract between two people only, without any state interest. But so much of the rhetoric against homosexuals has been that its very existence “threatens marriage”. One might argue that all those aspects of human sexuality that don’t fit heterosexual monogamy “threaten marriage”. Therefore, surely one might make the converse case, that bringing other stable sexual relationships into the marriage umbrella actually strengthens the position of (heterosexual) marriage itself. Homosexual marriage might be a good thing not just because of the rights of individuals, but also because of the sort of social concerns that you have.

    Your paragraph on homophobia is partly right, in that the word “homophobia” is widely used in inappropriate contexts, and such usage allows you to conclude that it is not real. However, if having a particular view about homosexual marriage is not appropriately called “homophobia”, there is much that should be called a phobia. Those who attack and abuse gay people are not just having a rational debate!

  16. Michael Hudston’s comment shows that we urgently need to strengthen society again by insisting on minimum standards and one of these is that homosexual behaviour is taboo.

    If people see Mr Hudston in public behaving with another man as a man would with a woman then he should feel thankful he is even ‘tolerated’.

    As for choices, even Peter Tatchell said recently that there’s more to same-sex attraction than just genetics.

    I believe that the ‘homophobic’ bullying campaigns are probably counter-productive for the children because, whereas schools should be tackling ALL bullying, they are singling out certain youngsters. Worse still is Stonewall being allowed into schools for what I consider to be a recruiting campaign (first seek to destigmatise the behaviour, then aim for acceptance).

    So, what does Mr Hudston suggest the rest of society does to satisfy the small number of people who live outside the realm of generally-accepted standards like this?

    Learn to ignore it? Lie to their children about it? Not tolerate it but celebrate it?

    Most people consider it lewd behaviour, so why should they tolerate it?

    When Brian Souter held his private referendum in Scotland a few years ago re. Section 28, 7 out of 8 people out of the million who responded wanted to keep the Clause.

    It’s about time these same people stood their ground and stopped being the brainwashed masses, just accepting unacceptable changes to the society they and their families live in.

    It’s not about ‘rights’, but right vs wrong and clearly sexual immorality is wrong and bad for society.

    Let’s stop pretending otherwise. It does nobody any good in the long run.

    • Myles says:

      “7 out of 8 people out of the million who responded wanted to keep the Clause.”

      ‘Who responded’ being the operative condition; the vast majority chose not to take part in Souter’s moronic publicity stunt.

      How about looking at more recent polls from actual authorised pollsters? One done for The Times last month showed that 61% of the public supports gay marriage.

    • Johnnnn says:

      Stewart – gay people “lewd”? Your post is abhorrent. How the hell does giving gay people equality impact on your life anyway? You’re probably the same bible-bashing type that would always want a group to single out; burning “witches” in the 19th century, campaigning against woman’s rights/female priests, now gays, who’s next?

      BTW, please tell us, what your reaction would be if you had a son you told you he was gay? It’s not something he would have chosen, so it wouldn’t be his (or your) fault. But what would you do? Throw him out into the streets? Force him to marry a woman, causing misery for both him and her?

      • “burning “witches””

        Sounds like you don’t want a logical discussion.

        I would teach my children the importance of sexual purity. If one did depart the fold then I would still accept him. I would be grieving, but ever hopeful that he could work through his confusion.

  17. William says:

    ““homophobia” is not so much a word as a political agenda”

    Really? How interesting. And I suppose we should believe that after such a homophobic rant?

    It hasn’t crossed your small mind that gay people just want equality, and the “agenda” against them is usually perpetrated by small minded little creatures like you?

    You sir, are a buffoon.

  18. stevie eglinton says:

    “It’s about time these same people stood their ground and stopped being the brainwashed masses, just accepting unacceptable..”

    I agree.

    I fervently hope that one day the people of this green and pleasant land do stand up for the ideals of freedom, justice and equality and with those ideals expose people like yourself as the agents of intolerance, prejudice and fear that you seem so clearly to be.

    It always amuses me no end when I hear people like yourself talking on behalf of ‘decent soceity’.

    You don’t speak for my parents. My grandparents. My siblings or their children. My work colleagues, past and present or indeed a great many of the heterosexual people I have ever met…

    It’s easy to speak for the majority when you haven’t actually asked them…

    • “It’s easy to speak for the majority when you haven’t actually asked them…”

      Brian Souter asked us and 86% said ‘keep the clause’.

      • Keith Blakemore-Noble says:

        ““It’s easy to speak for the majority when you haven’t actually asked them…”

        Brian Souter asked us and 86% said ‘keep the clause’.”

        Actually, of the 3,970,712 people who were sent ballot papers with the question on it, only 1,093,500 voted to keep the clause. That’s a little over 25% of those asked indicated they wanted the clause kept.
        Just thought it would be helpful to include a fact at this point.

  19. David Hoult says:

    “Homophobia” is merely a propaganda device designed to denigrate and stigmatise those holding conventional opinion”

    So was the person who shouted abuse and then attacked me in Camden not homophobic?

    How about Jody Dobrowski, Matthew Shepard, Michael Causer and others? Were those attacks homophobic or maybe the killers were merely trying to protect the ‘conventional opinion’ such as yourself…

  20. Peter Wilton says:

    Who are the “we”, to whom Stewart Cowan refers, who “urgently need to strengthen society again by insisting on minimum standards and one of these is that homosexual behaviour is taboo”?

    Brian Souter may have conducted a poll, but polls are notoriously coloured by the wording of their questions. Would that Brian Souter had spent more of his time keeping his eye on his transport companies so that the disabled help I had ordered for my father on South West Trains was actually available when I got there! Whatever Brian Souter may have found, it is clear that most people don’t care that people of the same sex who love each other can declare the fact in a STATE ceremony.

    And what does “taboo” mean? Recriminalisation? It’s taken anglophone culture a long time to recognise human nature, in a way that doesn’t seem to have been a problem with most of western Europe, even when we were going throught the “Victorian” era. It seems obvious that the use of the criminal justice system to regulate human sexual behaviour is largely futile (even if we rightly try to remove those who practise sexual violence, especially against minors, into prisons.)

    • “And what does “taboo” mean? Recriminalisation?”

      Certainly not treated as ‘normal’. Thirty years ago it was considered mental illness. We need to separate the condition of homosexual desire from politics!! You cannot *make* people accept what they don’t want to – that’s not “freedom, justice and equality” like Stevie Eglinton suggests.

      “It’s taken anglophone culture a long time to recognise human nature”

      Human nature? You could use that to try and justify *any* behaviour. A peaceful, successful society cannot be run along the lines of ‘anything goes’ based on human nature.

  21. Peter Wilton says:

    “Certainly not treated as ‘normal’. Thirty years ago it was considered mental illness. We need to separate the condition of homosexual desire from politics!!”

    But to go back thirty years is hardly “to separate the condition of homosexual desire from politics”. Quite the reverse, in fact! It would remove “freedom, justice and equality” from a large number of people who have only just won it.

    “Human nature? You could use that to try and justify *any* behaviour. A peaceful, successful society cannot be run along the lines of ‘anything goes’ based on human nature.”

    But equally, the hostility which you believe should be enshrined in law and taboo is not “naturally” felt in all times and in all places. It’s variable, and therefore subject to change. Especially now: we are no longer ruled by a largely immutable political class, and things have to be negotiated between different interest groups. Nor is it a question of replacing the absolute authority of monarchs with the absolute authority of the majority vote. It’s a truism that that is the worst kind of democracy. Now would be the likely time for us to become more like western European culture in general, less prurient and hypocritical on sexual behaviour.

    • Peter – we have a conflict of interests with “freedom, justice and equality”.

      On the one hand there is the belief held by same-sex couples that they should have the same rights as married (man and woman) couples.

      On the other hand, same-sex pairings go against the moral fibre of the majority. People don’t want a part in it. They don’t want it pushed onto their children. They don’t want to see it in action because it offends them.

      So the, maybe, 3%, of the population who want to live in a homosexual relationship and get all the rights of a normal married couple and demand to offend the vast majority of the population by displaying their same-sex attraction in public want to change the whole of society to force everyone to accept their behaviour. Is that not incredibly selfish?

      Isn’t the truth that perceived freedom, justice and equality can only belong to one of the above groups: the 3% or the 97%?

      • Peter Wilton says:

        It is open to question whether same-sex pairings go against the moral fibre of the majority. Evidently, you don’t meet many people who are easy about it, but, as Myles points out, Brian Souter’s poll was largely boycotted by those who disagreed with him, and the Times poll is almost certainly more reliable.

        I’d be very wary of suggesting that it is selfish of people not to sacrifice what is in effect the substance of their life simply because others find it aesthetically offensive. The best solution is obviously that everyone should be able to live one’s life in one’s own way. It’s not as if the majority are being asked to adopt the lifestyle of the other group. Only to accept that not everyone will be the same, and that everyone might have public recognition. That way, “freedom, justice and equality” are available to 100% of the people, not to either 3% or to 97%. That 97% should resolve that 3% should not exist is tyranny, even when exercised by a voting majority. The will of the majority has never been *all* that is meant by a democratic society, but also the freedom for what is not “normal” to exist. “Normal” simply means what is most common; it doesn’t imply that what is normal is all there is, or all there should be.

  22. Paul Waterson says:

    I’m in a same-sex relationship and I have a son (biological, not that it actully matters, but I know you’ll find issue with that either way, Roger). So bang goes your bizarre theory.
    You are, without question, amongst the most ignorant, fool-hardy, hateful people I have ever had the misfortune to come across.
    It’s also uncanny how all the people you admire are equally vile and backwards.
    Frankly, you disgust me and I fear for my son’s future with people like Roger Helmer still around.
    Oh, and as for your strange, semantic or otherwise theory on the lack of existance of ‘homophobia’ owing to the fact that you don’t ‘fear’ gay people. Yet a huge chunk of your silly rant seems to focus on society depending on the ability of heterosexual to procreate and therefor if we’re all gay, society will end. Sounds like ‘fear’ if you ask me.
    Any human being who thinks other fellow human being as not as worthy as they are is a bad person. Simple as that.

    • Chloe says:

      Paul,

      I think you will find that if you actually read the article, Mr Helmer is not attacking homosexuals, he is merely questioning the termonology used. Its correct that to have a phobia, it is an irrational fear. The resulting impact of irrational fears are usually panic atatcks, increased heart rates and perspiration. Now if sthe person who attacked you because you are gay, as you claim, and did have an irrational fear of you, did you notice their perspiration? Probably not. There is a big difference between hating somebody for who they are and being irrationally scared of them.

      I dont really understand why you are taking such unbridge at simple linguistical questioning?

  23. Comment by Keith Blakemore-Noble

    “Actually, of the 3,970,712 people who were sent ballot papers with the question on it, only 1,093,500 voted to keep the clause. That’s a little over 25% of those asked indicated they wanted the clause kept.
    Just thought it would be helpful to include a fact at this point.”

    Therefore under 4% of those asked indicated that they wanted to scrap the clause. Seems you are choosy about your ‘facts’ seeing as it works both ways.

    • Peter Wilton says:

      What we really need to know about Souter’s poll, though, is, of the number of papers sent out, what percentage responded at all? Does anyone know? Apologies if it’s been posted and I’ve missed it.

      • Keith Blakemore-Noble says:

        3,970,712 papers were posted and only 31.8% valid votes were returned.
        Of the less-than-1-in-3 who actually voted, 86.8% of the returned ballots were in favour of keeping Section 28, and 13.2% in favour of repeal.
        So of the total number of papers sent out, 27.%% voted to keep the ban, 4.2% voted to repeal, and 68.2% did NOT vote.

  24. Peter Wilton:

    Certain behaviour is unacceptable to some people and therefore this situation cannot be resolved amicably, therefore one party must back down. It seems fair that the wishes of the majority take precedence. Indeed, it would appear to be the only solution and those who disagree will have to live with it.

    A tiny proportion of the population really should not expect the norms and standards of society to completely change to satisfy their every demand.

    • Peter Wilton says:

      But your claim that this is the wish of the majority is open to question. It may be that only 3% of the population might wish to be in same-sex relationships, but it is far from clear that 97% of people find them unacceptable. More than two-thirds of people sent Brian Souter’s poll did not venture an opinion. That doesn’t exactly suggest an overwhelming need to banish same-sex relationships from public life. The more recent Times poll suggests that nearly two-thirds are actually in favour of the involvement of the state in these relationships. The results of both polls should of course be viewed with caution.

      It’s not just sexual behaviour we’re talking about here, but the whole sense of identity, of relationship, of the meaning of life. You have to imagine what it would be like if someone were to tell you that any public manifestation of your relationship is unacceptable. It’s not particularly relevant whether it would ever come about, but rather, to imagine what it would feel like, and gauge against some people’s difficulty in acceptance whether such negative feelings are really as hard to endure as exclusion from society. I would maintain that they are not. That’s why I’d distance myself from language such as “satisfy their every demand”. It makes it sound childish and trivial, when it is the stuff of life itself.

      I would also question the phrase “to completely change”, not in this case because of the split infinitive despite the fact that I’m pedantic in these matters, but for the reasons I outlined in my original response to Roger Helmer MEP: this is a slight modification of the traditional arrangements, and I would argue strongly that the extension of marriage into new committed sexual relationships (rather than leaving them undefined and even encouraging a world of non-relational sexual activity) might actually reduce the force one of the challenges of human nature to heterosexual marriage. Seeing homosexual marriages as undermining heterosexual ones just doesn’t make sense. I’m sure there are some around who still hanker after the early days of gay liberation when marriage was seen as the enemy of sexual freedom, and they are likely to be even more dismayed at the extension of the marriage institution into their sexuality.

      • You’re right that it’s not clear how many people, say dining in a restaurant, would be offended if two men started canoodling at the next table.

        For a private poll, Mr Souter’s received a pretty amazing response. Why were our opinions ignored? Why was a basic protection to prevent schoolchildren having homosexuality promoted to them removed?

        Simply because it was contrary to the wishes of a social engineering elite intent on weakening the building blocks of a strong society, i.e. families, to further their own agenda.

        I’m sure you will agree that a line must be drawn between what is acceptable in the wider community and what is not.

        A few people think they have the right to walk about naked – and do. They keep getting arrested because they have crossed that line.

        Our local paper regularly reports on cases of people having been arrested for sectarian singing and speech. They crossed the line of acceptability.

        If the majority of people are offended by the actions of the few, then the few need to show more respect and that includes homosexual behaviour.

        So what’s wrong with a split infinitive? Don’t you know it’s the 21st Century. I demand to be accepted for my grammatical perversion! It’s genetic so I can’t change…

  25. Edward Bentley says:

    Dear Mr Helmar,

    Your party has sought to give the impression that it supports equal rights and freedom from discrimination for the gay and lesbian community, yet you have made the extraordinary and outrageous claim that “‘Homophobia’ is merely a propaganda device designed to denigrate and stigmatise those holding conventional opinions”.

    The “conventional opinion” that you clearly seek to maintain is that gay and lesbian people should not be treated as totally equal and respectable members of our society.

    You therefore clearly suffer from homophobia.

    Would you be willing to make such a statement to the families of Michael Causer or Jody Dobroski, two gay men who were beaten to death because of their sexuality only last year?

    Are you aware that because of the attitude which you have so clearly supported, violent assaults on homosexual people in the United Kingdom have greatly increased in the past twelve months? You are espousing such violence with your homophobia, with your hatred of homosexuals.

    Get over it, matey. Focus on what is important in the world.

    Yours sincerely,
    Edward Bentley.

    • Jason Smith says:

      oh come off it Edward

      Roger has not espoused violence, nor has he demonstrated a hatred of homosexuals.

      You don’t have to agree wwith his thought process about marriage being recognised by society as a crucible for the procreation and raising of children.

      But don’t jump from that to accusing him of hatred and espousing violence.

      It is nonsense and nothin more than a straw man.

  26. Patrick Walter says:

    If the idea of ‘gay marriage’ devalues language and marriage, then are we to believe that heterosexual marriages have set and continue to be an example which gay people cannot emulate? A little walk through history, society and various ‘friendly’ cultures with an eye on their marital morals makes such a notion as laughable as it is offensive.
    Few people do not regard themselves as tolerant: a man’s opinion of himself is hardly a reliable yardstick. Your writings suggest a position that is poorly-informed and self-satisfied. Tolerance? One tolerates a bad smell or uncomfortable shoes. When applied to those people who an MEP represents and serves and who pay him, it is far too low a standard to aim for. Nothing less than respect will do.

  27. Keith Blakemore-Noble

    Your logic concerning polls is odd.

    Some local elections only get a twenty-odd percent turnout, yet the councillors are still deemed to have been elected.

    • Keith Blakemore-Noble says:

      I am sorry that you find inconvenient facts to be “odd”.
      I am merely pointing out the lie in the earlier claim that 86% of the populace wanted the heinous S28 retained, when the fact of the matter is less than 30% voted to have it retained.
      Facts are indeed most odd when they fail to support one’s prejudices and bigotry, I suppose, Mr Cowan. But they are still facts, nonetheless. 86% of the people did not vote to retain S28, no matter how much you may have wished them to less than 30% did.
      Deal with it.

      • My initial comment said “7 out of 8 people out of the million who responded wanted to keep the Clause.”

        If anyone was concerned one way or the other, they had the chance to register their concern. They didn’t, therefore if you want to say that ‘only’ 27% voted to keep the Clause, you should also say that a mere 4% wanted to scrap it.

        Fair’s fair.

  28. John says:

    Certain behaviour is unacceptable to some people and therefore this situation cannot be resolved amicably, therefore one party must back down. It seems fair that the wishes of the majority take precedence. Indeed, it would appear to be the only solution and those who disagree will have to live with it.

    How do you box these things I’m hopeless with graphics! Anyhow, the logic of that statement is so mediaeval it’s actually quite camp. You seem to equate democracy with some sort of cultural dogma of your own based on religion (?). And this is someone who probably would be interested in or is a member of the Freedom Society.

    The real point is that if we went back to your `minimum standards` you’d have to have Stasi like state intrusion and informers `who’s sleeping with who?` and it was for that reason that before the 67 act arrests of Gay men weren’t as much as they could have been.

    What you’re trying to do really is to imprint on younger minds that `this is the way, the truth and the light` ie by 30 you’ll have 2 children, 40 they’d be at Uni etc etc. I have no quarrel with people that want this (I’ve even met men who later on after the death of the wife or divorce) have gone on to having gay relationships.

    I actually find your behaviour unacceptable. I also find the behaviour of families hogging the pavements where I live oblivious to all and also to the kids who shout `paedophile` to an older friend of mine because he has the audacity to live alone and see his girlfriend at weekends.

    Until we realise that there are as many ways to live lives as there are individuals then there’ll always be people like yourself who will set about marking others as the `outsiders`.

    Yes, most people will be Heterosexual. I’m not of that number. Yes, I tried but it really did nothing for me and I feel most right when i’m physically and emotionally with another man like me.

    As to saying the 3% should cowtow to the 97% I doubt very much more than 25% of people give two hoots about Gay marriage and those that do are much older so the figures will go down dramatically in ten years.

  29. John says:

    I actually find your behaviour unacceptable. I also find the behaviour of families hogging the pavements where I live oblivious to all and also to the kids who shout `paedophile` to an older friend of mine because he has the audacity to live alone and see his girlfriend at weekends.

    I meant that I find these things unacceptable and as to the first example I don’t think there should be a law against it!

  30. steven e says:

    hello roger.

    i would like to raise a semantic point with you. the root phrase of homophobia does indeed suggest fear. in fact to apply strict translation it would mean “fear of the same”. however, in the same way that the word “mobile” has come to designate a cellular phone as well as the quality of being able to move, the word homophobia has now been used in society for many decades to describe the practice of treating gay people as though inferior to other people in society. this encompasses activities from unequal rights to the extreme cases of violence (sometimes lethal) perpetrated against people on the basis of their sexuality. this has been demonstrated in the uk over the last few years as well as in other places.

    in this sense homophobia – when it is talked about is not so much of a politcal agenda as a word used to describe an experience that many gay people still face in their day to day living.

    so my question is – would you deny that inequality exists and that violence is still something that gay people face in their day to day living.

    thank you for your time
    steven egan

  31. Peter Howell says:

    I wonder if anyone has ever considered Gays paying a lower rate of tax?
    after all, somebody decides that we should not be able to enjoy our lives to the full. We rarely cost the tax payer for bringing up and educating children. If we should not be allowed to live as a married couple then we fail to benefit from our partners pension on their death.

  32. Peter Wilton says:

    I can’t remember having seen men canoodling at a table in a restaurant. I have seen men kissing hello or goodbye, perhaps, but so what? But this was about marriage, not canoodling at a table.

    With regard to Clause 28, I recall that the idea that homosexuality was being promoted to children was largely a tabloid scare story. The clause was drafted wrongly (deliberately?), because responsibility for sex education was the province of school governors, not of the local authority; some schools elected to impart information about homosexuality, and others didn’t. The effect of the clause wasn’t so much in what it officially was able to do (it wasn’t actually able to do anything) but in the fear of what it might be able to do.

    The reason it was important to remove it was to promote the idea that we ought to respect each other, not to teach people to be gay.

    The advent of civil partnerships is an extension of, and strengthening of, marriage, by giving a framework for gay relationships akin to marriage, not an attack upon marriage, or a weakening of it. There are those who dislike it for that reason.

    Again, it is almost certain that “the majority” are NOT offended by “the few”, otherwise there would be no civil partnerships.

    There are lines between what is acceptable and what is not, but these are in a constant state of flux. For example, in France, skinny dipping is far less likely to raise an eyebrow, I should think.

    With regard to the split infinitive, I do like to maintain my standards!

  33. SMC says:

    As a member of the Conservative Party, I find your comments regarding homophobia to be ignorant and outrageous.

    How the Conservative Party can ever regarding the trust and respect of the electorate again with half-wits spouting nonsense like this I will never know.

    May I suggest it might be more appropriate that you go and live in Poland with the attitude you have shown. The people of the East Midlands deserve better than you and the conservative Party has better people to offer them that you.

    I trust David Cameron will have to good sense to drop kick you out of the party sooner rather than later, and we will not wait until the expenses review committee starts sitting before he finds some excuse to have you booted out.

    You are a disgrace.

  34. SMC says:

    Last posting should read, “How the Conservative Party can ever regain the trust and respect ….”

  35. Johnnnn says:

    Roger Helmer

    As a heterosexual person with a couple of gay family members – both of whom regularly encounter homophobia – I find your comments hurtful, out-of-touch, idiotic, wrong, and worse – dangerous; (because they will only serve to strengthen resolve in bigots that “they” are right).

    I accept there’s a good chance you would probably be courteous and not discriminate against a gay person, BUT there are many, many people who passionately hate gay people. I am against political correctness but giving gay people equality and dignity is NOT political correctness.

    I hope for THEIR sake you never have a gay child or grandchild. But if you did you would soon discover the discrimination they can suffer from, from verbal abuse right up to physical violence.

    P.S. Gay people are just like any other people, it’s just one small part of their lives.

  36. Myles says:

    Stewart Cowan

    “If the majority of people are offended by the actions of the few, then the few need to show more respect and that includes homosexual behaviour.”

    You’ve yet to give a scrap of evidence that the majority are indeed offended by “homosexual behavior”, all you keep doing is repeating the results of a private poll on Section 28 which took place 9 years ago in Scotland and generalising that to claim that the majority of the British public today think that homosexuality is immoral.

    You also ignore the numerous (and more credible) recent polls which show that by and large the majority of the British public support equal rights for gay people.

    If you’re going to go use a populist argument at least prove that most people believe what you’re claiming they do.

  37. Pingback: Liberal Conspiracy » Tory MEP: homophobia doesn’t exist

  38. Neville says:

    Homophobia is an evil thing from which you clearly suffer.

  39. Steven Morrison says:

    While I understand what you mean when you say that homophobia doesn’t exist, i.e. not many people have an actual fear of homosexuals, I completely disagree with you in the sense that homosexuals are discriminated against, you just have to look at hate crime statistics, and then tell the parents and innocent victims that it is a propaganda device! I think the problem lies in language, in that racism does not imply an irrational fear but the word homophobia implies a phobia, which many people who discriminate against homosexuals do not have. I hope I have made my point clear. I support same-sex civil marriage, but I can respect your views.

  40. Pinkwinkle says:

    Dear Mr Helmer. May I refer you to http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/jun/26/equality.gayrights
    May I also remind you that very recently, people have been murdered because of their sexuality. My partner and I have been refused hotel accommodation and access to campsites due to our sexuality. I have been bullied at work because of my sexuality, and my friends and I have been refused entry to bars based on our sexuality. We are not allowed to marry, and depictions of same sex relationships in adverts are sensored or removed. My friends and I frequently experience homophobic name calling, or worry that we wil be abused and/or assaulted on even the most calm and collected of nights out. Why do we worry? Because we’ve seen it happen to others. Some hetrosexual friends of ours have also been beaten up because they were out with some other gay friends, and were seen as traitors to hetrosexuality. Every time I answer the phone to cold callers, I am assumed to be hetrosexual, Mrs and subordinate to the non-existent ‘man of the house’. I have also had the phone put down on me by insurance companies once my marital status of ‘civil partnership’ has been mentioned, and my partner’s attendance at her last smear test saw her being subjected to hetrosexism and homophobia. Please tell me therefore how you can honestly say that “‘Homophobia’ is merely a propaganda device designed to denigrate and stigmatise those holding conventional opinions, which have been held by most people through most of recorded history”. As someone who experiences institutional and personal discrimination based on my sexuality on a weekly if not daily basis, I find this comment shortsighted, oppressive and unwelcome. I certainly will NEVER be voting Tory, in this life, or the next.

  41. Edward Bentley says:

    From the Guardian 26th June 2008

    One in five lesbian and gay people have been victims of homophobic aggression over the past three years, a survey of hate crime revealed today.
    Their experiences ranged from beatings and sexual assault to persistent harassment and insults, often from neighbours and colleagues.
    The gay rights charity Stonewall said the lives of Britain’s 3.6 million lesbian and gay people were overshadowed by the fear of homophobic crime.
    It commissioned YouGov to carry out the first comprehensive national survey into the problem, questioning more than 1,700 lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
    The poll found a homophobic crime or incident had been experienced by 12.5% over the past year and 20% over the past three years.
    One in six of the victims had been physically assaulted and one in eight had been subjected to unwanted sexual contact. Almost nine in 10 had experienced homophobic insults and harassment.
    Three-quarters of the victims had not reported the incident to the police, often because they did not think the complaint would be investigated.
    Only 1% of hate crimes that were reported to the police resulted in a conviction. Two-thirds of victims who reported incidents to the police were not offered advice or referred to support services.
    Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, congratulated the charity for undertaking “this timely research”.
    She said: “We are determined that lesbian and gay people should have the confidence to report crimes to the police knowing they will be taken seriously, the crime investigated and their privacy respected.”
    She said the findings of the poll would be considered by the ministerial action group on violence, which is investigating further action on hate crimes.
    The charity was prompted to commission the poll by the murder of Jody Dobrowski, a 24-year-old assistant bar manager who was beaten to death in a homophobic assault on Clapham Common, south London, in 2005.
    Almost half the lesbian and gay people in the survey thought they were at greater risk of being physically assaulted than a heterosexual. One third said they altered their behaviour so as not to appear lesbian or gay in an attempt to avoid becoming a victim of crime.
    One in 10 said being a victim of crime was their biggest worry, more than being ill or having financial debts.
    The survey showed lesbian and gay people were more likely to
    report crimes in areas where the police were gay-friendly employers. Hampshire, South Wales and Lothian were praised for taking homophobic hate crimes seriously.
    Stonewall said all police officers should be trained to recognise homophobic hate crimes. Other recommendations included stronger action against homophobic bullying in schools and a zero-tolerance policy against bullying in the workplace.
    Ben Summerskill, the chief executive of Stonewall, said: “This was the first statistically significant national survey into the extent and nature of homophobic hate crime. The experiences it has uncovered are shocking. We hope the whole criminal justice system will now rise to the challenges that this research poses.”

    The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said the findings would help the police improve the service.

    Mike Cunningham, the deputy chief constable of Lancashire and Acpo’s spokesman on equality, said: “It cannot be acceptable that a third of victims do not report incidents to the police because they do not think the police would, or could, do anything about it. Neither is it right that two thirds of those who reported incidents to the police were not offered or referred to advice or support services. The findings offer the service a real opportunity to make real improvements

    • Pinkwinkle says:

      Thanks Edward….I posted this on pinknews (I’m razzab)and was about to on here….you saved me the job. Mr Helmer, this is the article I brought to your attention in my above post.

  42. Dave says:

    Even if I were to agree with you – which I do not – regarding the undesirability of homosexual marriage on social policy grounds, I would still fail to understand your objection to it on semantic grounds.

    Take the word ‘computer’ for example. A computer used to have one meaning only – it meant a person who computes complicated arithmetic calculations. Now though, thanks to people like Alan Turing, who incidentally was gay, the word ‘computer’ is more commonly associated with a machine which performs rapid calculations. I’m sure you use one every day. So just because the meaning of a word might alter does not necessarily make it a bad thing. Well maybe it does if you’re a Luddite.

  43. Tom David says:

    It is a shame that despite trying to consider this issue in a logical and detailed way the conclusions you have finally reached are so dangerous.

    Gay people do not want to have to hide behind the privacy of closed doors – that is no real freedom. It’s like saying that Christians can meet in secret basements to pray together but they are not allowed to witness and celebrate their faith in public.

    We are a small minority of maybe 5% of the population. We represent no threat to the heterosexual majority yet time and again that majority has restricted our lives and attacked us. We look around the world at lesbian women being deliberately raped to ‘cure’ their sexuality in South Africa, and young gay men being executed in Iran.

    Can’t you celebrate that we have become a tolerant society that recognises all citizens as equal Roger? Just as white people were proud of Obama’s achievement at being the first African-American President I would hope that you as a heterosexual person could be proud of our tolerant society for what it says about our British civilisation.

  44. Debbie K says:

    This issue shouldn’t even require discussion; to say that we, as homosexuals do not deserve the same rights and priveleges as heterosexuals is an insult and a disrespect to your fellow human beings. We pay our taxes, we do as much good as many heterosexual people do in our society, and at the end of the day we are no different to you. I’m disgusted, quite frankly, at the notion that you think our struggle for equality is nothing but a mishmash of propaganda and ‘politically correct’ nonsense.

    Even the most liberal of people can see that this PC nonsense has gotten out of hand, but giving an opinion is different to denying someone a basic right – I think we can all agree that in the UK, we all have a right to a socially and financially safe and secure relationship with our chosen partners.

    To dumb it down a little, you are more than welcome to tell me you ‘disagree with my lifestyle’, but to tell me I should not be able to marry my girlfriend of many years? Quite despicable.

  45. David T says:

    So there’s no such thing as homophobia then is there Roger?

    Well maybe you’d like to tell that to the families of Michael Causer and Jody Dobroski, who were both beaten to death because of their sexuality?

    I think you’re an exceptionally stupid and bigoted man Mr. Helmer and you’d be doing your constituents a great favour if you actually gave some thought towards what you write before you write it.

  46. John M.J. says:

    I would ask you all to note that Mr. Stewart Cowan is a noted and well-known anti-Christian homophobe who regularly posts his idiotic, unsupportable, literalist Biblical opinions at www dot pinknews dot co dot uk.

    He is well known in the gay blogosphere for his rants against mainstream Christianity and for attacking loving Christianity with hatred and vile calumnies of his own lurid invention.

    He claims to be a Christian but, obviously, he isn’t – he is merely an agent of Satan, and he can be safely discounted from any argument because his ignorance of Christianity and the Laws of our European Union and the history of our Continent and our faith is profound and is magnificently, but most evilly, centered in his own prejudices.

    For we Gay Christians Stewart Cowan represents, is an agent of, nothing more than the Devil, as he spins his vile lies and promulgates hatred in the name of the Christ who preached only love.

    I’m sorry, Mr. Helmer, but that is what you are doing, too. You ar believing in guidelines as if they were rules and denying the operative love of Christ – exactly as Mr. Cowan does.

    I’ll pray for both of you – I’ll ask our good Lord to forgive you both. He will, you know, for He is kind.

  47. Philip Dore says:

    Mr Helmer

    I notice that you do not appear to have replied to Stonewall’s suggestion that you meet the families of two men who were murdered for being gay. Will you do so?

    You say that, “In psychiatry, a phobia is defined as an irrational fear. I have yet to meet anyone who has an irrational fear of homosexuals, or of homosexuality.”

    If somebody feels it necessary to beat someone to death for being gay, I’d say that person has “an irrational fear of homosexuals, or of homosexuality”.

  48. Tom Adams says:

    Using psychology jargon in this context makes about as much sense as using chemistry jargon – I could equally say that homophobia is the physical property of a molecule that is repelled from homosexuals.

    I know what homophobia means, you know what homophobia means. So put down your Greek dictionary and leave the linguistic pedantry to the experts.

  49. richard says:

    Mr Helmer,

    As a researcher(counselling/psychotherapy/education) could I please inform you that your arguments surrounding the construct of ‘homophobia’ are utterly mis-informed. May I sugges that you, in fact, access research into homophobia and society before making spurious claims that only reflect personal prejudices. Indeed, we know (scientifically) that homophobic dispositions associate with lacking education…..I would suggest that narrow and deep is also important, as well as broad and superficial, in forming your views.

  50. Simon says:

    It is insightful to know that the rational, apparently modern face that Cameron says is the “new” conservatives doesn’t extend that deeply. The old vile face of reactionary conservatism still bubbles forth from the likes of Roger Helmer and his ilk. Freedom (for some) Association, more like.

  51. Roger Helmer says:

    It seems that my comments have been widely (and perhaps deliberately) misunderstood. I suggest to Philip Dore (above) that someone who attacks a homosexual is clearly suffering from a pathological hatred of homosexuals, but I don’t see how he can have an irrational fear of them. If he had, he would run, rather than attacking.

    No one denies that discrimination and prejudice against homosexuals exist. No one denies that (sadly) homosexuals may be subject to abuse, threats or even violence (which by the way I forthrightly condemn). My point is that no one has an irrational fear of homosexuals, and that therefore the word “homophobia” cannot describe a real condition. It is also used to imply that those who are less than fully-paid-up supporters of Stonewall are suffering from a psychiatric disorder. Which is why I say that this neologism is not so much a word, more a propaganda device.

    • steven e says:

      roger i feel you are being disingenuous here. language changes. to say that homophobia describes irrational fear of gay people and can not describe hatred of gay people is to say that the word mobile can not describe a phone as that is not its exact meaning. yet most of society uses it this way. as most of society uses the word homophobia to describe hatred of gay people and treating gay people as inferior. one of the great qualities of the english language (and why we have Shakespeare) is its great fluidity.

      however, to meet you on your ground. it would seem you would accept that hatred toward gay people does exist (and i appreciate your condemnation of this). this whole discussion arose because of your talking about Mr Kaminski. BBC Radio 4 broadcast the audio of a tv interview with Mr Kaminski. the transcript runs as follows.

      He said: “The association of fags unequivocally support this.”

      The interviewer asks: “What term did you use?”

      Kaminski replies: “The assocation of fags.”

      The interviewer then says: “Don’t you think that’s offensive?”

      Kaminski says: “That’s how people speak. What should I say? They are fags.”

      the Polish word used is reported as being an analogue of the word “fag” and it is clear from the interviewer’s response that the word he used is derogatory. this seems to me to indicate a viewpoint where gay people are seen as inferior and not worthy of respect. thus, whether the word homophobia is used or not – it would seem that Mr Kaminski – a public figure – has been making derogatory comments about gay people. i wonder if you would defend this.

      on the subject of conventional views – it was once a conventional view that people from Africa were able to be enslaved – it was once a conventional view in the Weimar Republic that Jewish people were dangerous.

      when a conventional view is held about a group by people who are not part of the group and that view is used to create inequality in a society then surely it is important to examine that view. in fact history is built on this.

      this does not preclude you from airing your views on gay marriage – i welcome them as it helps us have a full debate. but please do not be surprised if people challenge those views. and do not use the term of political correctness to silence those who would challenge your argument.

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  53. Andy says:

    You are a complete prat, a prime example of why the tories should never be voted in to power.

    You dont care about equal rights and the right of people to love and be who they are. Like the homophobes in Poland you only care about white heterosexual males, anybody else is below you.

    Science has long proven homosexuality is not a choice. You only have to look to the animal kingdom for evidence of that. You and the rest of the homophobes in this country need to realise it is not some illness that can be cured, we are born this way. I suppose we only have religion to blame for the problems gay people are having in todays society. They along with clowns like yourselves are the ones who use free speech to belittle anyone they don’t approve of.

    Get rid of scum MPs and religion, the UK would be a much better place without them!!!

  54. Jon Hawkins says:

    For goodness sakes Mr Helmer, language is an evolving tool, it is alive, meanings change… Gay once meant happy, now it seems that there are lots of happy men and women around who are far from gay about your outrageous public posting.

    Alas, your ill-conceived post, no matter its historically correct language, has only served to highlight a level of pedantry, and political and journalistic naivety that is frankly astounding. Perhaps the best thing you could do is unreservedly apologise for the offensive, ill-conceived, though perhaps wordly accurate, posting forthwith.

    Perhaps another word where some of us thought the definition was changing was “Conservative”, it used to mean oppressive, homophobic group…perhaps it still does after all.

    • Peter Wilton says:

      Actually, I can sympathise with the idea that maintaining a distinction between phobia (=fear) and hatred is a useful one. In fact, if something is hatred, pure and simple, it seems less excusable perhaps, if not “phobic” in origin, which might go some way to excusing it.

  55. Paul Miley says:

    At 4:42 Roger wrote, “My point is that no one has an irrational fear of homosexuals, and that therefore the word “homophobia” cannot describe a real condition”. You talk about him being historically correct yet want an apology. so he should apologise for writing something you yourself admit is accurate.

  56. Pete says:

    Anyone not convinced of the existence of homophobia just needs to read the preceding postings to find several people guilty of it. Or just look at Fred Phelps’ Southern Baptists, or President Ahmedinejad’s statement “there are no gays in Iran – we hang them”.

    For the record, the book “Exuberant nature” details over 350 species of birds and mammals where homosexual couples have been recorded by trained biologists. In his book “On Aggression”, Konrad Lorenz, the Nobel Prize-winning ethologist describes it in Greylag Geese, and references Peter Scott’s encountering homosexuality in his studies of pink-footed geese. Pretty much every human society in history has something to say about same-sex loving relationships. Homosexuality is clearly a normal part of animal and human biology. Just as people have different coloured hair, or are left-, or right handed, so there are different sexualities.

    I know several homosexual men with children (yes, Mr Helmer, some Gay Men do have children). I also hear the word “gay” used as a term of abuse quite frequently.

    You claim to believe that anyone suffering from an irrational fear of homosexuality would run rather than attacking homosexuals, but some people are violent and do attack that which they fear, particularly if they are in majority or feel they can win. Do you imply, therefore, that any fear of homosexuality is rational? If so please give your reasoning. I’d particularly like to understand how accepting openly gay service personnel (one was recently featured on the front cover of Soldier magazine as an openly gay soldier) has affected the armed forces, who are struggling heroically in Afghanistan, and whose complaints seem to be lack of resources, the heat and being unable to grieve their dead an wounded colleagues, not having to serve alongside equally well-trained and dedicated gay colleagues.

    As for gay marriage, yes, it is a contract between two people and society. It allows each partner to attend the other’s funeral (without marriage many gay partners were banned from the deceased’s funeral), they can inherit tenancies (many were made homeless after the death of their partner), they can make decisions on healthcare if the other is incapacitated, and they are liable to pay their partner’s council tax if (s)he defaults. Please explain if you believe that gay couples should be denied these? If you think gay couples should have them, then are you in favour of civil partnerships, and what differences would you have between civil partnerships and marriage?

  57. John says:

    That is not actually true. I was coming up to the station one night and I saw a man sprawled up by a wall. Thinking he’d fell I like the caring soul I am asked if he was OK. `Piss off you queer` was the reply! He was clearly drunk yet obviously extremely defensive using his innate Gaydar. What developed next was a verbal assault in front of other people as he kept shouting at me `he likes to take it up the ass` as I went away. He was obviously both scared of his own sexuality and had a hatred of homosexuals to such an extent that he singled me out. He hated me and he hated himself.

    I’m in no way flamboyant and unless you were Gay or knew Gay people you’d be hard-pressed to tell that I was Gay. This is to explain that he must have had Gaydar himself.

  58. Hmm... says:

    Explain this to me then, how exactly does one display a phobia of something? Is the reaction always one of the freeze or flight response, or can a person instead fight out of fear.

    I promise you that homophobia does exist. The reason it’s bashed around so much in the media and in politics is not because it’s some political correctness gone mad, no. It’s because it actually exists.

    People who are scared of homosexuals through a fear of self insecurity and/or a lack of knowledge on sexuality – an irrational fear that results in an aggressive reaction.

    There really is no reason to reject homosexuals or deny them a legal law marriage (religion should have nothing to do with the state). What you are doing is forcing your beliefs on to others – the reason I am put off voting for your party.

    How can you protect my rights when it’s obvious you don’t even understand what homophobia is.

  59. Glyn says:

    I believe that Roger Helmer should continue writing blog entries of this nature. The world should hear what he has to say on this topic. Hearing views such as this reminds me why I should never, ever, vote Conservative. It`s a great reminder for those of us who fear that the Conservative Party remains a haven for outdated, illiberal, discriminatory views.

  60. Dave says:

    Hi Roger,

    I’m very interested in what you say, but what do you make of this piece about your Polish friends’ policies on Europe?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/aug/09/cameron-kaminski-lisbon-treaty

    David Cameron’s new alliance in the European Parliament hit fresh controversy last night when it emerged that its Polish leader had spoken out in favour of the Lisbon Treaty, which the Tories say would be a disaster for Britain and Europe.

    The revelation is likely to shock Conservative eurosceptics, who believed that the new European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR), headed by Michal Kaminski, which includes the 25 Tory MEPs, was being set up by Cameron specifically to campaign against the kind of federal Europe that they insist the Lisbon Treaty would create. ….

  61. neville says:

    “Roger Helmer is wrong in what he said and should be officially reprimanded by the party for these words and for the sentiments that lie behind them and which, aside from anything else, amount to a betrayal of the fundamental Conservative ideals of equal opportunity to all individuals, without exception.”

  62. Derek Tipp says:

    84 comments! There is certainly a lot of interest in this. It gives a whole new meaning to “straight talking”! My views coincide with yours Roger. The trouble is that being “tolerated” isn’t enough. The few radical homosexuals won’t be satisfied until they are free to promote their “cause” ad infinitum.

    • Peter Wilton says:

      In gay political terms, campaigning for admission to such a conservative institution as marriage seems to me rather more conservative than radical. I don’t necessarily imply, in saying that, that I believe it a bad thing.

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