Stonewall In Gay Row After Keith O'Brien, Catholic Leader, Named Bigot Of The Year

Stonewall's Bigot Of The Year Award Causes Row

A row has broken out after Cardinal Keith O'Brien, leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, was named "bigot of the year" by gay rights charity Stonewall.

The award has now been labelled "an outrage" and showing "significant lack of judgement" by the church.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who picked up a politician of the year gong at the ceremony, used her speech to condemn the "bigot" category, saying campaigns for equality were better served in other ways, but she was booed off the stage.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland was given the 'bigot of the year' award

The Scottish Cardinal was voted for by 10,000 supporters and came after the cardinal went "well beyond what any normal person would call a decent level of public discourse" during the heated debate over gay marriage in Scotland.

O'Brien called off talks with the Scottish government over same-sex marriage earlier this year after comparing the reform to the re-introduction of slavery, describing it a "grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right."

He has also compared gay marriage with paedophila, saying: "What if a man likes little girls? Can he adopt a little girl and then just have a little girl at home? We are working towards the destruction of any sort of moral standards."

Gay Marriage is be made legal in Scotland, the SNP government announced earlier this year.

John Deighan, who is the Parliamentary Officer for the Catholic church wrote in the Express on Sunday:

"Cultivating victim status has effectively put Stonewall beyond reproach in the public square. It is time to acknowledge we are in a propaganda war. Disgracefully, only one side is being subsidised and publicly funded."

Stonewall Scotland director Colin Macfarlane defended the award on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland saying their role was to "shine a light on discrimination."

He told the programme: "The very fact is the people that were nominated for bigot of the year have this year called gay people Nazis, they've compared them to bestialitists and to paedophiles and one of the nominees suggested that gay people should be put in front of a firing squad and shot dead.

"I think what we are doing is highlighting the fact that very cruel, very nasty, very pernicious language is being used by some people, and in particular by the Cardinal who won.

I think we're right to highlight that, I think we're right to shine a light on that kind of discrimination, hence why bigot of the year was one of our award categories."

Stonewall are behind the 'Some people are gay. Get over it' campaign

The row came after two major sponsors of Stonewall's annual awards dinner threatened to pull the plug on funding if the gay rights group does not withdraw its controversial 'Bigot Of The Year' award. Prior to the award bother Barclays and Coutts said it would withdraw funding unless the category was removed.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson picked up a politician of the year gong in recognition of her becoming the first openly gay leader of a major UK political party.

Ruth Davidson is the leader of the Scottish Conservatives

But she criticised the bigot of the year category, saying it was "simply wrong" to use such terminology.

Ms Davidson, who attended the ceremony presented by broadcaster Gok Wan, said: "There are many voices in this debate and just as I respectfully express my sincerely held belief that we should extend marriage to same-sex couples, I will also respect those who hold a different view."

"Where I disagree with Stonewall is the need to call people names like 'bigot'

"It is simply wrong. The case for equality is far better made by demonstrating the sort of generosity, tolerance and love we would wish to see more of in this world."

A similar row broken out earlier this year after aides released an early version of Nick Clegg's speech in which he branded opponents of gay marriage "bigots".

Gay marriage is to be legalised in Scotland

Extracts released early by officials said: "Continued trouble in the economy gives the bigots a stick to beat us with, as they demand we 'postpone' the equalities agenda in order to deal with 'the things people really care about'."

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey said:"to be called a bigot is a very offensive statement and I would ask him to recall it...because there are issues here that demand very serious debate."

Within an hour aides had corrected the text, insisting an early draft had been released in error.

To call someone a bigot is to imply they are utterly intolerant of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from their own.

According to Stonewall the bigot is awarded to anyone who has "gone out of their way to harm, hurt or snub lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the last year".


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