Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Being Gay is Now So Trendy You Can Trump the Rights of Other Minorities

Here's an interesting dichotomy, a contrast to be compared if you will. Yesterday we heard that the Christian bakers who politely declined to make a cake bearing a slogan about gay marriage with which they fundamentally disagreed, have lost their appeal. They apparently have no such right to decline business; they must be forced to write a slogan of the choice of their customer in case their refusal in some way hurts his or her feelings. It doesn't matter that there are plenty of other cake bakers out there; all the more so these days, presumably, in this Bake Off obsessed land. No. If you want to order a cake made bearing a slogan about gay marriage, or homosexuality in general we assume, then you have the right to go into any cake baker in the land and have them make your cake, decorated in a manner of your choosing and they must acquiesce to your will, whatever their feelings about pink icing. Do you see what I did there?

This week we have also heard the news that Turing's Law has been passed. This is with regard to Alan Turing, the brilliant mathematician and computer pioneer, who was responsible with his team of boffins for saving thousands of lives and probably shortening the war thanks to their work on breaking the Enigma Cipher used for encoding the messages of the Nazi war machine, thought unbreakable at the time. Turing was and is a hero. He was also gay, at a time when gay meant something else, but when being homosexual was illegal, or at least the various sexual acts associated with homosexuality were illegal.

Now this new law has been passed, which posthumously pardons Turing and others for crimes, homosexual crimes, that have subsequently been struck from our statute book on account of their being illiberal.

But this is of course a nonsense. Pardoning people posthumously is inherently ridiculous. It might I suppose make their relatives feel better at a push, but generally what is the point? It is revisionism and posturing. It is our way of showing how much more enlightened we are than our forebears, all of which rather misses the point of history does it not. But Alan Turing hasn't benefited. Nobody has benefited. It has just enabled a few politicians to grandstand and show how liberal they are.

And revisionism in historical criminality is problematic in other ways. Our country is replete with examples of people prosecuted, convicted, even executed for crimes we now regard as being unobjectionable or at least excusable. But then the same is true of most countries. The fact that we no longer prosecute and criminalise people for matters such as homosexuality or offending the king is a sign of progress. But where do you draw the line with posthumous pardons? And don't our politicians have something more important to do than pardoning a man who died 62 years ago?

And yet you can be damned sure that the same politicians will be doing their damnedest to avoid opining or grandstanding on the issue of gay cakes. Yet they should. These are living and breathing people who have a right to their principles. Nobody was hurt by their refusal to bake a sodding cake, indeed it wasn't even the baking of the cake. It was the decoration of said cake. That is a clear freedom of speech issue. Had someone walked into the shop and asked for a cake demanding a woman's right to choose could the shop have refused? If not, why not. Remember this has nothing to do with whether you think a woman has the right to choose - this blog is very clearly in the she definitely does camp. This has everything to do with people's right to hold an opinion about it.

All that was hurt by this case was our sense of justice and a small matter of freedom of speech and conscience. Aha! you might say, but what about the freedom of speech of the person, Gareth Lee, who wanted his cake baked. To which the obvious response was that his freedom of speech was entirely unaffected. Nobody was saying he could not say or indeed say in icing on a cake of his choice whatever panegyric on the matter he chose, just that he did not have the right to impose himself on a cake baker who disagreed with him. He should simply have gone to a different baker and got over himself.

But unfortunately those of us who thought this to be the not unreasonable attitude of the law of the land have been proven wrong. The intolerant demanders of greater tolerance have won again.

This preening obsession of LGBT people and their 'rights' has rode roughshod over the rights of others when there was no need to do so. A simple application of common sense and decency would have seen Mr Lee simply shrug, say okay and Googled the name of another baker. Instead he claimed to have had his feelings hurt and so this legal case was launched.

This is the state our laws are in now. The dead are pardoned for no good reason and in a way that offends our sense of history, because the fact that Turing's Law now exists does not obscure the fact that laws against homosexuality did once exist. We should be open and honest about it. Meantime people with non trendy principles are ignored and rode roughshod over because they didn't see why they should be forced to do something that offended those principles. How illiberal.

And finally the standard statement of interests. I am not gay. I am also not a Christian. I consider the beliefs of Christians and indeed all religious groups to be ridiculous and indeed the objections of this Christian firm to the slogan to be ridiculous. I don't have any problem whatever with gay marriage and what consenting adults choose to do to one another in private. Nevertheless Christians are or should be entitled to their beliefs (however absurd) and to refuse to bake a sodding cake if they want to. This is a case that should have been laughed out of court. Instead our liberal establishment has once again redefined what being liberal means. The dead are afforded greater protection than those alive today and in possession of principles seen as insufficiently trendy.

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