MP Roger Gale slammed for gay marriage Shakespeare claim
Gay rights campaigners have criticised
a Kent MP for saying that allowing same-sex marriage would result
in Shakespeare and the Bible having to be re-written.
Sir Roger Gale made the shock claim
after the government launched a consultation on allowing gay
couples in England and Wales to wed.
The North Thanet MP said it would lead
to words such as "husband and wife" having to be replaced with
"spouses and partners" in the historical texts.
He is joined by senior members of the
Church of England in opposing the proposal.
Writing in a letter to a KM Group
newspaper, Tory MP Sir Roger said: "I shall do so because I believe
that describes the union, in church or out of it, of one man and
one woman and it's not a term or a status that I wish to see
hijacked in the false name of 'equality'.
"As a consequence I shall be described by some of my own
constituents and by the wider gay community as homophobic and
Sir Roger also questioned if historical texts would have to
be re-written if the bill got the go-ahead.
He said: "If we are to re-construct official and business
documentation and to replace 'husband and wife' with 'spouses' and
'partners' where, please, will this stop? Will Shakespeare and
Milton and The Holy Bible be re-written also?"
But gay rights campaigner Colum McGuire, a former member of the
Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transsexual Society at the University of Kent
in Canterbury, but now vice-president of welfare at the university,
said Sir Roger's comments are wrong.
He said: "When we're talking about the debate over same-sex
marriage, this is one of the weakest arguments I've seen - we're
talking about rewriting Shakespeare here, which I think is a really
"I'm a literature student myself and I could give Mr Gale many
analytical readings of Shakespeare of the time which might open his
eyes a bit to what things were like then.
"We haven't re-written text when women got the vote or
re-written Othello when slavery was abolished. This is silly.
"The use of equality throughout his letter is quite appalling
and compares it to convenience really which is quite sad.
"We have to
recognise the difference between church and state. Faith can
control their own rights, but can't control everyone else's civil
"If we are going to enter this debate around same-sex marriage
lets not talk about textual authenticity.
"I think it's a sad day if we're prioritising that over modern
"Gale needs to spend more time with his constituents and less
time reading books from hundreds of years ago."
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