Thursday, 31 October 2013

Public health warning: Never mix equal marriage, Stephen Nolan show and breakfast

Earlier today Rev. David McIlveen came on The Stephen Nolan Show on Radio Ulster. The reason for his appearance was that the Equality Commission had said that they had come to the opinion that, with movement on the issue in the rest of the UK, Same-Sex Marriage should be extended to Northern Ireland.

But it was some of this comments that caused concern, especially as these were echoed by a number of callers.

Firstly he said that homosexuality should never have been legalised in Northern Ireland in 1983. When challenged by Pink News editor Benjamin Cohen about what would be the penalty Rev McIlveen said that was his place to come up with the penalty. Of course he was stating that the bible should be the basis for the law. The penalty in that is that if men sleep with men they should be stoned. But the Reverend was very careful to say that he did not condone violence against people.

He said he was unaware of what rules applied before 1983. When challenged with the past punishments he said that those were a "totally nonsense response". Well maybe he should read a little more about this. The Labouchere amendment to the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act (which itself lowered the punishment from death to life imprisonment) said the following:

"Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or is a party to the commission of, or procures, or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with an other male person, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and being convicted thereof, shall be liable at the discretion of the Court to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding two years, with or without hard labour."

This was the law under which Oscar Wilde was sentenced and was still in force in Northern Ireland in 1983. It did not merely apply to prostitution but where two consenting men were doing anything even in the privacy of their own homes. It was because of this law being in place in the 1970s that Jeffrey Dudgeon was questioned by the RUC which lead to him taking his case to the European Court of Human Rights.

However, Rev McIlveen went on to say that he would continue to advocate the Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign was an "right and honourable campaign". Before quoting that the court case ruling for his church while allowing the gay community to have their point of view also allowed his church to have theirs. So how is not allowing gay people to be gay people fulfilling that? Which is what the Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign was about.

On the subject of the law, Benjamin Cohen also challenged him when he had quoted that Jesus had come to fulfill the law, that he did not eat pork, or shellfish, and was circumcised as laid out in the Torah. How much of that law did Rev. McIlveen fulfill? You may guess this but Rev McIlveen avoided answering that.

Scarily one of the callers who was obviously listening to the show not far from me in Bangor, came on and said that being gay was a treatable mental illness! Yes, in 21st Century fairly liberal Bangor some people/person think(s) I am mentally ill because I am gay.

I should remember not to listen to Stephen Nolan while eating my breakfast, there are still bits under some of the keys which makes typing somewhat slower than normal.

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