Thursday 14 June 2012

In correspondence with Lord Maginnis

Last night I saw someone tweet that Lord Maginnis has received a number of emails about his comments yesterday on the Nolan Show. He said that the majority had been in favour, but that most of those against has been rants.

I'm off the opinion that shouting and ranting at people with such opinions, especially when they called the gay rights lobby aggressors is certainly not the way to go.

That is why I emailed this to him this morning.

Dear Lord Maginnis,

I listened to your comments on equal marriage this morning on the Nolan Show.

I do not understand how you consider your marriage or Stephen Nolan's marriage to be any more private than mine or any other gay person's would be.

For a start the ceremony itself would surely be held with at least two witnesses and surely some family and friends would be invited, so hardly private. That would apply to both I see no difference there.

I doubt that you are your wife do not attend events, friend's houses, or even church separately so therefore there are times you are out in public as a couple. I'd like to feel able to do that with a boyfriend here in Northern Ireland as I do in Scotland, England or Wales. But as the equality commission report Do You Mean Me? showed this morning we would feel far safer being in a mixed religious marriage out and about in Belfast than a same sex one.

I can therefore only assume that the only event you think I might make more public than you and you wife would make would be in the bedroom. It may shock you but the reason I want to marry my boyfriend is that we will be faithful and monogamous one to the other for life, much as I suspect you promised to your wife on your wedding day.

You see I have actually come into contact with heterosexual couples, their weddings, elements of their married life. From when I was a young child they have been an every present element to my life. Indeed it seems that they are everywhere and I cannot seem to turn around without seeing a pair of them. Maybe holding hands, kissing in public, wrapping their arms around each other, pushing their children in pushchairs or whatever. For 365 days a year here in Northern Ireland they are aggressively pushing their heterosexuality in my face. By your argument this morning I should have been adversely influenced by them and heaven forbid become straight, as for only one day, and that only recently, has it been safe to see a large number of fellow gay people in Belfast being free to act in public like our heterosexual peers. For the record there are two Pride Parades in Northern Ireland one in Belfast and one in Londonderry (the second will be in its third year this year). Compared with parades for other organisations this is very few.

Most LGBT people [in Northern Ireland] do not brandish about their relationships in public because of the fear of being more treated less favourably than members of the other religious community. The reason for this is that people like yourself, many of who have been elected to represent all their constituents to not be protected by them but instead to have their safety put at threat by comments like yours on the Nolan show.


Stephen Glenn

I did receive a speedy response almost as soon as he came off air on The Nolan Show this morning. I publish it below in full.

Thanks for your considered comments Stephen.  I need hardly say that I disagree with you.
Nonetheless, I appreeciate the tone in which you have corresponded and wish you well.
The Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

I did sleep on what I had written and made a few minor changes to what I intended the write. Too often we send a message in the heat of the situation which can be ranty and not reasoning with the other person's objections. It is especially true in the political sphere where too often adversarial positions are brought to the fore.

Whilst I know that I have done little to change Lord Maginnis's opinion on this matter, I hope that by my tone and the way I laid out my arguments based on his own words he will realise that we are not all aggressive activists but intelligent individuals who are not swayed as he puts it into a lifestyle. But often we have struggled to come to terms and live with our homosexuality here in Northern Ireland, which to be honest is not the easiest place in the world to be born this way.

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