Senior Conservative MP Chris Grayling has been nominated as “Bigot of the Year” because of his insistence that Christian owners of guest houses should be allowed to discriminate against same-sex couples.
The title is one of the less serious awards which will be announced at the Stonewall Awards ceremony on 4 November in London. The other awards aim to celebrate “those who have made a positive impact on the lives of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Britain”.
Grayling was recorded making his comments in private in April this year, when he was Shadow Home Secretary. The subsequent row impacted on his career and he is now a junior minister in the coalition government.
His comments were subsequently challenged by a number of Christian organisations, including the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement and the religion and society thinktank Ekklesia.
Other contenders for the title of Bigot of the Year are Arthur Roche, the Catholic bishop of Leeds, who argued that children should not be adopted by same-sex couples, and Sunday Times journalist A.A. Gill.
Nominees for Hero of the Year include Gareth Thomas, Britain's first openly gay professional rugby player, sports journalist Clare Balding and X-Factor winner Joe McElderry.
The organisation that wins Community Group of the Year will receive a cheque for £5,000 to support its work.
The awards for Hero, Bigot and Community Group are chosen by a vote open to members of the public.
The other seven awards – including Writer and Entertainer of the Year – will be chosen by a panel of judges including the radio and TV presenter Paddy O’Connell and the author Sarah Waters. Other judges include the Tory MP Margot James and Eileen Gallagher of Shed Productions.
The awards ceremony will be hosted by the comedian Sue Perkins.
Stonewall's Laura Doughty said, “Once again, the Stonewall Awards are shining a light on those who are making an important contribution to equality in Britain today – inspiring lesbian, gay and bisexual people to lead fulfilling lives at home, at school and at work”.
Stonewall Awards have often been welcomed because they highlight the progress made in achieving equality for gay, lesbian and bisexual people. But Stonewall has also been criticised for its priorities, for example by granting awards for good employment practice to the Royal Navy and Goldman Sachs, despite criticism of their ethics in other areas.