03/06/2013 20:44 BST | Updated 04/06/2013 10:33 BST

Peer Upset With Gay People For Stealing The Word 'Gay'

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 03: Proponents of same sex marriage sing during a vigil outside the Houses of Parliament on June 3, 2013 in London, England. A government bill allowing same sex marriage in England and Wales was passed in the House of Commons last month, despite the opposition of 133 Conservative MP's. The bill is currently being debated in the House of Lords. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Lord Hylton, a crossbencher and one of the few remaining hereditary peers in parliament, has a problem with gay marriage. Not too surprising. So do a lot of his colleagues. But he also has a deeper bone to pick with gay people - they stole the word 'gay'.

He said: "I regret very much that the fine old English and French word 'gay' has, in my lifetime, been appropriated by a small but vocal minority of the population."

Speaking during the debate on the same-sex marriage Bill on Monday evening, Lord Hylton told the House of Lords: "The result is that it can no longer be used in its original and rather delightful meaning."

He added: "Now, under the pretext of securing equality, Her Majesty’s Government are proposing to change the meaning of marriage.

"It is surprising that the leaders of the Conservative Party, who might be expected to uphold traditional values, should lend themselves to this attempt."

In old English and French the word 'gay' was used to mea 'jolly' or 'carefree'. During the mid-20th Century it came to mean homosexual.

However it was initially meant as an insult and was only later re-appropriated by gay people, Lord Hylton's "vocal minority", as a preferred term.

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