Homosexuality has always been a tender subject for most religious groups. Although I am not homosexual myself, I know many people who are and I have the utmost respect for them. I am fortunate enough to come from the San Francisco Bay Area where there is a wide acceptance of homosexual culture on a day-to-day basis. And although Proposition 8 was passed in 2009, it is my understanding that most of the people in California are in support of gay rights. Even certain Christian groups in California and throughout the United States support equal gay rights and their right to marriage.
Here in the United Kingdom there is a certain level of acceptance of homosexuality in the community. However, religion and homosexuality are starting to clash in unforeseen ways. Two religious groups showed that they were clearly not in support of homosexuality earlier this year in London. The two Christian groups in question, Core Issues Trust and Anglican Mainstream, have been funding forms of therapy that are allegedly meant to “cure homosexuality”. As if this weren’t offensive enough to the homosexual community, the groups funded posters on London public transportation which read “Post-gay and proud. Get over it.” These ads were made in a clear retaliation to the bus ads made by UK gay-rights group Stonewall reading, “Some people are gay. Get over it.” The clash between these religious groups and Stonewall ended in the intervention of London’s mayor Boris Johnson. Boris stepped in and banned the bus ads. Mr. Johnson, a supporter of gay-rights was quoted as saying, “It is clearly offensive to suggest being gay is an illness someone recovers from. And I am not prepared to have that suggestion driven around London on our buses.
Although Boris Johnson is in support of the gay rights, religious groups have continued their attack against London’s homosexual community, and it looks like the mayor may need to step in once again to lend a helping hand. World Pride is the largest gay pride parade in the world. The parade takes place in London, and is scheduled to occur on July 7th of this year. Although much of the London community, including many religious people, supports the parade, the festival seems to be running into a number of problems. And certain conservative Christian groups seem to be at the heart of the problem. Tesco, the well-known grocery outlet, is one of the main sponsors of the World Pride parade. However, there is currently a major backlash against Tesco and their support of World Pride by The Christian Institute. This conservative religious group is currently campaigning against Tesco’s sponsorship of the parade and has made it clear that they are far from supporting homosexual rights in the United Kingdom. Tesco is fighting back against this campaign and Tesco’s head of research and development has been quoted as saying he would fight back, “against evil Christians,” who do not support equal rights for the homosexual community.
World Pride has continued to run into major issues over the past weeks. Some sponsors have pulled their support for the parade and the festivals budget has been severely cut back. Changes from last year include a reduced rally in Trafalgar Square, no outdoor drinking, and no floats. Floats tend to be the main attraction of parades so the fact that they are not allowed this year is a major blow to the gay community. Now Boris Johnson may be the only person who can step in and restore the parade. Hopefully, the event will go off without a hitch and opponents from conservative Christian groups such as The Christian Science Institute, Core Issues Trust, and Anglican Mainstream can be held at bay.
References: “Why Boris Johnson should step in to save London’s WorldPride parade” http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/07/why-boris-johnson-should-step-save-londons-worldpride-parade
“London Mayor Axes Ads Saying Homosexuality Can Be Cured” http://www.religiontoday.com/blog/london-mayer-axes-ads-homosexuality-can-be-cured.html
Photo courtesy of NewStatesman