The backlash against gay rights

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.


The problem with many Christians in politics is that they seem to be interested only in sex: gay sex, adulterous sex, sex that results in unwanted pregnancy. If they could spend even a proportion of their time thinking about anything else in the Bible – crops, markets, usury, justice, fish – they’d be so much easier to live with.

In our own parliament, however much we might abhor the self-satisfied bigotry of the DUP, we’re far more exercised about the billion pounds heading in their direction. There’s a deep sense of injustice at the power they now wield for reasons of constitutional anachronism unmasked by Conservative incompetence. The threat they pose to pluralism and human rights, the sheer outrage of having people in parliament who think it’s any of their business what happens in someone else’s bedroom: all that can be neutralised with familiarity (they haven’t only just arrived in Westminster), whataboutery (Gordon Brown discussed a deal with them in 2010), complexity (there are myriad reasons Irish politics is so polarised) and jokes (when the deal was first mooted, someone read their manifesto and said it was basically the Bible with fortnightly bin collection; that pretty well dispatched them as a threat, for me. It is hard to violently oppose a party and find them comical at the same time.)

Homophobia is on the rise on too many continents for this to be the coincidental ascendance of a few idiosyncratic characters. It comes, as it always does, with racism and sexism, the persecution of refugees and a dim-witted nationalism in which every state looks back to its glorious, exceptional, entirely misremembered past, and seeks to build a future on returning to it. It is no accident that Theresa May, a prime minister who sees dissent as un-British, and Andrea Leadsom, who sees challenge as unpatriotic, should be in government with a party that wants to erode LGBT rights.

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