Christian last-ditch demo against anti-discrimination measures

By staff writers
March 21, 2007

A few hundred Christians gathered outside Parliament carrying banners with such slogans as: "Gay Aim = Abolish the Family" - despite warnings from other evangelical Christians that such protests would reinforce perceptions that all Christians are homophobic.

The protests came as the House of Lords prepared to vote on the government's Sexual Orientation Regulations, which aim to prevent discrimination against gay and lesbian people.

Many Christian supported the regulations. These included evangelical Christians such as the movement Faithworks which spoke in favour of the regulations, and also warned Christian lobby and pressure groups not to play on the fears of Christians.

They urged Christians to read the Sexual Orientation Regulations for themselves, and make up their own minds.

The pleas may have had an effect. The protests outside the House of Lords were considerably smaller, numbering just a few hundred, compared to previous protests which saw over a thousand people attend.

The gay website reports however that protest organisers barred them from talking to or photographing the demonstrators.

Event organiser Phil Whealy told "This is not an anti-gay protest".

"Christians are tired of being insulted, persecuted and compared with extremists." reports that the crowd was comprised primarily of middle aged and elderly people, although many of the protesters had brought their children with them and given them placards to hold.

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, was at the protest.

He told "It’s regrettable that the Metropolitan Police were willing to allow placards bearing overt homophobia to be displayed.

"What was even more shocking was that a hundred small children had been dragged out of school and some were forced to carry anti-gay placards too.

"There’s no better evidence, as we at Stonewall have always said, that these protections are needed in our schools and that faith schools should not be exempt from them."

Concern has also been expressed about an anonymous Christian video on the YouTube site which depicted a teacher describing graphic gay sex to a class of small children - falsely claiming that SORS would lead to such scenes in primary school classrooms.

Faithworks is among those warning against alarmist claims and scare tactics by opponents of equalities rules.

Meanwhile, the Lawyers Christian Fellowship and the Evangelical Alliance, who have galvanized anti-SORS activity said today that they were "praying for a miracle."

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