ABSOLUTELY OUTRAGEOUS: Advertising Standards Authority “persecutes Cranmer”

This is ABSOLUTELY outrageous. Read it and weep.

Peter’s commented on this also.

And Jim in the US has picked up on this.

And now Gillan and John.

And here’s some more:

Lisa Graas, Ben, Prodicus, Tangled Web, Tim Worstall, Boiling Frog, Vic, Roger, The Bones, LMS, Part Time Pilgrim, Admiral Creedy, Neil Addison, Opinionated Catholic, John, Creative Minority Report, Richard, Nic, Ruari, David, Calvin, Max Farquar, Stand Firm, Nick, Harry’s Place, Lazarus, James, Chris, Mulier Fortis, Melon Farmers, Defend Marriage Scotland, Anglican Mainstream, David, Steve Kneale, Woman on a Raft, Fr Finigan, NSS, Mundabor, Maria Stops Abortion, Ecumenical Dialogue, BritNorAmFreedom, New Zealand Conservative, Quid Deinde, Ed West (Telegraph), Crooked as Corkscrews, defende nos in proelio, Huffington Post, Daily Mail

Let me know if I’ve missed any.

UPDATE: Cranmer blogs his response to the ASA

UPDATE II: The ASA responds

UPDATE III: Cranmer blogs on Advertising Standards Authority “semantics and lies”.

UPDATE IV: Cranmer fisks the ASA response.

UPDATE V: Cranmer notes the Chairman of the Advertising Standards Authority is also Vice President of The Campaign for Homosexual Equality

UPDATE VI: Cranmer on Further ASA response – an admission of error

And here is the offending advert:

66 comments on this post.
  1. Gordon:

    He carried the ad, he did not place it. I think the onus is on the agency that placed the ad (the originators of the ad). It must appear in various places and only the originators can back up the statistics.

  2. Phil Groom:

    Wot I said at Peter’s place…

  3. Jonathan Smith:

    He carried an ad which is campaigning to keep the law *as it currently stands*. Do these ASA people lack any intelligence? (keep the answers short please)

  4. Lisa Graas:

    Jonathan, it’s not so much a question of intelligence, per se, but rather what the Left deems to be ridiculous and what they do not deem to be ridiculous. http://lisagraas.com/blog/2012/05/10/proving-gay-rights-is-about-hate-chad-griffin-tells-bill-donahue-siblings-cant-marry-because-its-ridiculous/

  5. TheBoilingFrog:

    Thanks for your kind link

  6. Goy:

    In hoc signo vinces†

    @Lisa Graas,

    In this case not the ultraliberalism of the Left but of the Right – British Conservative Party.

    “In its February 2010 manifesto, the Conservative Party pledged to ‘Tackle currently unregulated marketing on corporate websites targeted at children’ and ‘to shut this regulatory loophole and clamp down on irresponsible online marketing targeted at children’ …..”

  7. Phil Groom:

    It’s all completely loopy: allowing gay couples to marry won’t make the foggiest bit of difference in terms of “keeping marriage as it is” — straight couples will remain married and no one will bat an eyelid. A straight man isn’t going to suddenly sit up in bed and look at his wife and say, “Gee, honey, I could have married a man: what am I doing here with you?”

    The so-called “Coalition for Marriage” is nothing of the sort: it’s a Coalition for Unequal Marriage or, to be more precise, a Coalition to Allow the Church to Continue to Exercise its Right to Bigotry and Exclude Those Whom it Deems Unfit for Entry.

    The utterly barmy thing about it is that the government has intentionally ring-fenced the church already: the campaign is unnecessary and achieves nothing more than to hammer home the view that millions of people already have that the church is an exclusive club for the self-righteous.

    OK, rant over: now go read Peter Kirk’s blog on Gay Marriage: Why Christians Shouldn’t Try to Ban It

  8. Simian:

    Is the ASA really ‘persecuting’ Cranmer? Are they not doing as they should in responding to complaints, and asking for evidence to back up questionable claims carried by an adverstisement that a few people have deemed offensive. It’s not as if the ASA have any real teeth in this matter, and it is a simple matter for Cranmer to justify this advertisement if he so wishes. To be honest, as an outsider it looks to be just feeding a persecution narrative.

  9. Caral:


    Would you care to explain how the advert is “homophobic and offensive”
    As the ASA haven’t, yet they expect Cranmer to respond to the allegation that it is.

    Where or what exactly is “homophobic and offensive” about this ad?

  10. Simian:

    I agree with you Caral. I don’t think it is. All Cranmer has to do is explain this to the ASA, and that will be the end of it. He may be accused of something, but that’s surely not the same as saying the ASA has already found him ‘guilty as charged’. I agree this is a silly accusation, but it just betrays human fallibility and possibly even gratuitous mischief by someone at the ASA. But that it should be allowed to get to this stage is more likely to be corporate cockup rather than conspiracy, in my view…
    The part that I find just as disturbing is the apparent glee with which interested parties latch on to this non-event., in order to ‘prove’ a dubious point..

  11. Phil Groom:

    The ad itself isn’t homophobic and offensive: it’s just promoting a homophobic and offensive campaign. Easy, really…

  12. Caral:


    Cranmer has been asked to provide….

    “robust documentary evidence to back the claims and a clear explanation from you of its relevance and why you think it substantiates the claims. It is not enough to send references to or abstracts of documents and papers without sending the reports in full and specifically highlighting the relevant parts explaining why they are relevant to the matter in hand’.

    Personally I would tell them to naff off, but in stronger terms.

    Your comment about non-event.. *head-desk*. Maybe a non event for you, as you are not Cranmer.
    I’m shocked that you miss entirely the concept of having the freedom to support the laws of the land.

  13. Caral:

    I notice Phil’s comment proves yet again, Cranmer’s law.

    “Thus, if you believe (and argue) that marriage should be between one man and one woman, you are ‘homophobic’.”


  14. Gordon:

    Recently I spent a very challenging week looking after someone who was really homophobic. I have never met anyone like it. He believes that homosexuals should be driven out to live in the forests and not have any access to state healthcare or any other form of support.

    That’s proper homophobia!

    I did get an image of the forests of Argyll being populated by gay episcopal clergy which made me smile.

  15. Caral:


    Just a few more thoughts.

    You suggest a ‘corp cockup’ not a conspiracy. Who suggested it was a conspiracy? Who said this exactly? Or it is you just placing words into the mouths of others?

    You assert that the advert has ‘questionable claims’.
    Can you share with us your rebuttal of the methodology of the Res Com research.


  16. Phil Groom:

    C’mon Caral – if the anti-gay coalition isn’t homophobic, what exactly are they? We’ve got a situation in which HM government has *guaranteed* the church’s right to maintain its anti-gay policies, so how do Christians respond? They launch a ludicrous campaign against civil marriage equality. Not content with battening down the hatches to keep the gay infestation out of the church, they want to rule gay couples out of equal civil rights as well.

    If you haven’t read Peter Kirk’s post on why Christians shouldn’t be behaving like this (link above in one of my earlier comments) please do go read it.

    And please, please, people: stop rerunning the ad. The anti-gay coalition has more than enough support as it is.

    Thanks for nothing, ASA – you’re as bad as the Brewers were attacking Dave Walker back whenever…

  17. John Richardson:

    BTW, I regularly see an advert online that claims to ‘reduce belly fat’ — indeed there are adverts, that, thanks to Google, appear on my blog all the time.

    If someone deemed that claim, or any of the others, to be unsupportable, would/should the ASA contact ME?

    This does look like a case of targetting the wrong person for the wrong reasons and using the apparatus of state legislation to do so. That’s what is I find so ‘offensive’ about this whole business.

  18. Nic Doye:

    Phil, I’m not anti-gay and I don’t know anyone who is. Please don’t use such a hyperbolic or just plain wrong phrase. Being against gay marriage is not homophobic. As for the promises of HM Govt, well they’re meaningless as European equality legislation trumps them. All it will take is Stonewall to send a gay couple to a Catholic church and the church (as a whole) will be forced into a position where it can not provide the civil marriage, just the sacramental one.

  19. Caral:

    Phil, the man Gordon was caring for, is homophobic. Not wanting marriage to be redefined is not. Your view seems slightly orwellian, and perhaps you really do believe that if others’ do not agree with your viewpoint, that therefore gives you the right to shout ‘homophobic.’

    Having read Peter Kirk’s blogpost, I think there is a conflation of issues at hand, but that is irrelevant here.

    With regard to the governmental spurious claim of a “guarantee”. It is as worthless as the paper it is written on.

    If SSM is made legal, churches will be forced to wed same sex couples, (esp CofE) under section 29 of the Equality Act……. “it unlawful for a person concerned with the provision of a service to the public or a section of the public to discriminate on various grounds, including sexual orientation.”

    And the ECHR have made it quite clear that it will force institutions….

    “Where national legislation recognises registered partnerships between same sex, member states should aim to ensure that their legal status and their rights and obligations are equivalent to those of heterosexual couples in a similar situation.”

    As Nic say Europe trumps, always.

    Have a read around the subject Phil.



  20. Phil Groom:

    Believe me, Caral, I’ve read around and am well familiar with the many and various arguments being bandied about on this subject: visit my blog if you wish (http://philgroom.wordpress.com/) and feel free to join in the conversations there or linked thereto.

    Personally, I’d welcome the EHCR ruling on this issue. The church should be leading the way in matters of equality, not stubbornly resisting; but such is the folly of the human heart.

    As for those denying homophobia: try looking at it from the other side of the fence. If you were in a gay relationship wanting to marry, how would you feel with people like Cardinal O’Brian hurling abuse at you in the name of the church? Do you truly want to take a stand with people of that ilk? Because that’s precisely what those who support the Coalition for Marriage Inequality are doing.

  21. Simian:

    To answer your supplementaries:

    What I meant by ‘cockup vs conspiracy’ was that I suspect this was just an overzealous reaction by ASA that was not properly thought through. I think they over-reacted, but it’s just a case of poor judgement, nothing more. The request to Cranmer is standard stuff, and is easily answered. Other people get similarly ridiculous missives from these kinds of organisations all the time.

    Regarding ‘questionable claims’: Well, the poll asks leading questions, instead of neutral ones. For example, the form of one of the Comres poll questions (or rather statments) is: Marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman. and the respondents are asked if they agree with the statement or disagree. All the questions are couched in the same way, which begs the affirmative answer. Second, the methodogy is not made public (not that I can see anyway) so it’s impossible to assess the level of confidence in the findings, but if Catholic Voices is the client, then they can determine the precise questions and have a say in the scale of the poll etc. It’s not impartial, or at least canot be seen to be impartial.

    I don’t wish to make a huge issue out of this, but I want to try to add some balance.

  22. Caral:

    *eyesroll* Phil, I’m getting the distinct feeling that you prefer to resort to polemics rather than discussion. So thanks for your offer, but no thanks.

    Personally I find that the problem of the so called ‘tolerant’, is that they are only tolerant of those who agree with them, if any one who dares to disagree, then they are become most intolerant and illiberal.

    Hey ho, thankfully the Cross is steady, in the winds of Zeitgeist.

  23. Simian:

    To respond to your supplementaries: Outrage at this apparent persecution implies an intention to to do just that. My point is that the reality is probably more an overzealous response to complaints. Poor judgement maybe, but nothing more.

    Regarding the methodology: Well, the poll questions were not questions at all, but statements describing the status desired by Catholic Voices, and inviting the respondent to agree or disagree. They are hardly impartial. Second, the poll is significantly skewed towards the older generation. Third, there is no explanation of the methodology or how individuals were selected. Fourth, this poll was commissioned by Catholic Voices, who have a specific agenda. This is reflected in the nature of the poll. I’m sure ComRes conducted the poll scrupulously, and did a great job for their client, but it’s hard to view it as completely impartial.
    I don’t want to make a big issue of this. Just to add some balance.

  24. Caral:

    I understand your avoidance. But who said it was a conspiracy?

    And why are you accusing Com Res of not being an impartial marketing company, and thereby suggesting that they cannot do objective market research, which is absolutely outrageous in it’s own right.

    Edit: On second thoughts perhaps you should speak to Andrew Hawkins (chairman) and tell him that his research company are not practicing objective and impartial research. And that the research was unrepesentative. Here is his twitter acct @Andrew_ComRes and their website

  25. Phil Groom:

    *eyesroll* … yeah, I can do it too, Caral … but it doesn’t get us anywhere, does it?

    Am I only interested in polemics? Judge for yourself; I’ll give you a more specific link: Shadow Dancing: A conversation about faith, hope and gay love in the church.

    Hey ho as you say: the Cross, that great horizontal/vertical bridge between heaven and earth, where Christ opens his arms wide to the world and takes all the hate and vitriol of humanity into himself, into the grave, and leaves it there … or so we dare to hope.

    I daresay you’re not homophobic; I daresay you and Nic and the vast majority of those who have signed up to the C4M campaign are not antigay; but sadly that’s the overwhelming impression that the campaign gives. It’s not a campaign for marriage, it’s quite specifically a campaign launched to oppose marriage equality. Without the government’s consultation, there’d have been no C4M: the heterosexual majority lost that plot long ago in its endless compromises and take-it-or-leave-it approach to marriage. Jesus spoke out against divorce; he didn’t speak out against gay relationships: but the church quietly compromises, remarries divorcees after a ‘decent’ interval — isn’t this what a Coalition for Marriage should be standing against, standing for marital commitment and faithfulness? But no – the church takes its stand against a perceived threat from a minority who want to get married, from a minority who want to commit to one another… it truly beggars belief…

  26. Lisa Graas:

    Goy, I’d say sometimes the Left calls itself the Right, and sometimes the Right gives in to the Left. ;-)

  27. Lisa Graas:

    Phil, define “homophobic” without disagreeing with Christianity and see what you come up with.

  28. Simian:

    I have no complaint with ComRes. For all I know they did a first rate job with great integrity within their remit, and posed the statements to a representative sample, (even allowing for the unexplained skew towards the older generation and under-representation of the youngest age group).

    But that does not alter the statements, which in a court of law would be inadmissable, as leading the witness. I certainly don’t mean to make an outrageous criticism of ComRes. What I was trying to do was put myself in the shoes of the ASA and see what they might have had to object to. I have agreed with you that the ASA should probably not have reacted as they did. The ComRes survey is surely a side issue, and a matter of opinion. I don’t wish to offend you. I just want to explain my point of view.

  29. Phil Groom:

    Homophobia has nothing to do with Christianity, Lisa; but, sadly, a lot of Christians present as homophobic. Some even come over as homophobiaphobes: one has only to use the word and they jump up and down excitedly in denial whilst still insisting on the right to discriminate against their gay brothers and sisters.

    There’s no simple answer: when Jesus said we should treat others as we’d have them treat us, he never said it would be easy.

  30. Lisa Graas:

    Phil, I asked if you could define “homophobia” without disagreeing with Christianity.

  31. Phil Groom:

    Sorry, Lisa, what’s your point? Homophobia is about being antigay: what has that to do with Christianity? Christianity and homophobia, like other attitudes that seek to exclude people on grounds of race, gender, social status etc, are mutually incompatible.

  32. Lisa Graas:

    LOL. That’s what I thought. You can’t do it. haha.

  33. Phil Groom:

    Your point being? Or do you not have a point?

  34. Lazarus:

    @ Phil ‘If you were in a gay relationship wanting to marry, how would you feel with people like Cardinal O’Brian hurling abuse at you in the name of the church? Do you truly want to take a stand with people of that ilk? ‘

    1) How would I feel? Probably similarly to the way I feel as a Catholic when I read your rants. (Misunderstood. Slightly angry that you either can’t understand the arguments against same sex ‘marriage’ or won’t. Despair that your self confident brand of thoughtlessness is increasingly dominating the world my children will live in.) In essence, people are naturally going to be offended when others criticize views that are central to their lives (my Catholicism, my understanding of my marriage; a gay person’s understanding of their identity, their desire to get married). We need to move past the immediate feelings and deal with the arguments. Id’ recommend Richard Waghorne’s articles to which I’ve linked (http://cumlazaro.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/challenge-to-patrick-harvie-on-same-sex.html) as providing a good summary of the natural law arguments here.

    2) Stuart, add me to the blogs which have put up the C4M ad.

  35. Phil Groom:

    Lazarus, thank you: at last, an intelligent, thoughtful response. I’m aware that the extremist attitudes of Cardinal O’Brien don’t represent the majority of Roman Catholics, but unfortunately it’s that kind of homophobic ranting that the media pick up on, that gives the rest of you a bad name, and I’d simply suggest that you distance yourself from it.

    Instead, however, knowing the offence that the C4M campaign is causing, knowing that it is driving a wedge deeper and deeper between the gay community and the church, you’ve chosen to rerun the ad, to promote it. You say that I am displaying a “self confident brand of thoughtlessness” — yet is that not precisely what you are doing?

    I understand that some people are opposed to marriage equality; I understand that some people wish to maintain marriage as an institution for heterosexuals only; but I don’t — and that’s a genuine don’t, not won’t — understand the rationale behind that thinking. I’ve heard the arguments; I’ve read the arguments; but I can find no sense in them. Allowing same sex couples to marry doesn’t undermine existing or future heterosexual marriages in any way any more than allowing heterosexuals to take up a civil partnership would undermine existing or future civil partnerships: it simply puts all couples wanting to commit to a faithful, lifelong relationship onto a level footing.

    I agree that it challenges the church; but why should the church not be challenged? In our church today we heard a reading from John’s Gospel, in which Jesus says:

    As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love… This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you … I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father… (John 15.9ff, NRSV)

    Christianity is first and foremost about following Jesus; and Jesus calls his followers to the way of love. He does not call us to morality or to the defence of morality. Perhaps you regard homosexuality as immoral? But even if so, it’s an irrelevance: we are called to love.

    If you can’t hear my voice over the noise of the present conflict, listen instead to Gamaliel, who advised the Jewish leaders when Christianity emerged, challenging everything they held dear:

    So in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them—in that case you may even be found fighting against God! (Acts 5:38-39)

  36. Drew_Mac:

    When Phil said “Allowing same sex couples to marry doesn’t undermine existing or future heterosexual marriages in any way…” he goes right to the heart of the homophobia case. Time and time again I’ve heard or seen the C4M supporters claiming that enlarging marriage provision to include homosexuals in some way threatens the whole institution of marriage. No reasonable evidence is ever given for this claim and therefore such a fear is undoubtedly a phobia (an unreasonable fear).

    As for the leading questions of ComRes – I would have answered “Yes” even though I also wish to allow gay couples marriage equality. I don’t believe such a gracious enlargement of the laws on marriage changes the rights of heterosexuals to marry nor does it change the essential nature of marriage for the rest of us.

    BTW, isn’t the C4M ad misleading in using the phrase “I do” in association with the photos of wedding couples? I understood that all marriage services require the phrase “I Will!”

  37. Ben Trovato:

    Phil Groom

    You keep using the term ‘marriage equality’ as though it means changing something. If it means anything, it is what we have now: any adult person may marry any other adult person of the opposite sex (providing the second party agrees, and they are not within certain degrees of kindred etc). That right is open to homosexual as well as heterosexual people, and some homosexual people avail themselves of it.

    What you are campaigning for, and what many of us are objecting to, is the re-definition of marriage to mean something quite different.

    You may not agree with that analysis, but you should at least recognise that that is how we see the issue.

  38. Phil Groom:

    Sorry, Ben, but that’s not marriage equality: that’s marriage exclusivity, the same as saying, “anyone may travel on this bus if they’re white” … and sure, black people can put on a mask and pretend they’re white, or even have their skin bleached like MJ tried…

    Yes, I recognise that’s how you see the issue; and that’s why I’m calling for change.

    Drew_Mac: I salute you!

  39. Lazarus:

    Hi Phil

    1) I thought Cardinal O’Brien’s remarks were forceful but I didn’t see anything wrong in what he said. (There was certainly no attack on homosexuals.) What exactly do you think is extremist about them?

    2) Society has an interest in promoting heterosexual couples in a stable relationship; it has no interest in promoting same sex couples. At the least, separate institutions (civil partnerships and marriage) would serve the common good better than blurring the difference between two different types of relationship.

    3) I’m carrying the ad a) because it’s an issue of free speech; and b) because I agree with it for the reasons I’ve stated. I agree with you that the debate is probably driving a wedge between the gay community and the Church. Three responses: i) the Church is merely responding to a misguided proposal so the fault, if any, is on those who are pushing this error; ii) any wedge is not helped by those who persistently ignore the arguments put forward by the Church and pretend that its motives are lacking in good faith (if nothing else, let’s have a civilized even if forceful debate on this); iii) in the end, the Catholic Church is God’s voice. If there is a wedge between the Church and anyone, it is those who reject God who need to look to their consciences. (That sounds brutal. But if you are dealing with (say) atheists or liberal Protestants whose denial of the premises of Catholic teaching are in their DNA, simply tweaking a bit of teaching on sexual morality won’t remove the wedge either.)

  40. Tim aka Dunning-Kruger Boy:

    “He does not call us to morality or to the defence of morality.” *Interrobang Interrobang Interrobang*

    “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” Matthew 9:13

    “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man…” Matthew 15:18-20

    “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24

    “But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” Matthew 19:17

    Just a few examples.

  41. Drew_Mac:

    Lazarus: “Society has an interest in promoting heterosexual couples in a stable relationship; it has no interest in promoting same sex couples. At the least, separate institutions (civil partnerships and marriage) would serve the common good better than blurring the difference between two different types of relationship. ”

    Surely there are lots of reasons why society should promote legally recognized stable relationships for all couples. They are general good for society as well as for the well-being of the couples themselves and for any children they raise.

    As for the idea of separate institutions, however you dress that up it comes out as apartheid for a group not quite good enough to enjoy the same institutions as the rest of us. That is inequitable and unjust and needs rejecting unequivocally.

  42. Lazarus:

    ‘They are general good for society as well as for the well-being of the couples themselves and for any children they raise.’

    1) On the subject of the general good, I’m not sure why this should be the case. Society loses (eg) labour mobility and the challenge of an experimental form of life. (Such losses are the price to be paid for successful child rearing, but I’m not sure why society should pay it simply to make people feel nice.)

    2) On whether it is good for the participants, on a liberal view of the state, it is difficult to see why it should intervene to promote a (dubious in any case) benefit for individuals: if it were just a matter of ensuring that that the participants have a better life, shouldn’t this be left to the participants themselves to sort out?

    3) On the raising of children, i) I’m very happy to say that the state shouldn’t encourage homosexual couples to raise children. Do you think it should? (Why?) ii) There is a difference between heterosexual couples and homosexual couples in the raising of children in that the former tend to find themselves with them quite easily and the latter have to go through all sorts of twists and turns to get them. Accordingly, the mores of the institutions intended for the two sorts of relationship need to be different: eg the bindingness and exclusivity of a marriage are related to the ease of pregnancy; no such comparable requirements are necessary in a same sex relationship. (Indeed, by encouraging homosexuals to take on unnecessary and arbitrary burdens not fitted for their needs, you are inflicting harm upon them.)

    4) On your point regarding apartheid, if by ‘dress up’ you mean thinking carefully about the differences involved in two different sorts of relationship, then I guess I’m guilty. Political institutions are better crafted on the basis of their function and contribution to the common good rather than vague talk .

    As an overall point, it’s a good rule in social engineering not to introduce change until there’s a clear and demonstrated contribution to the common good. So the burden of proof is on you to show why completely changing the nature of marriage will lead to increased general welfare. Giving the existence of civil partnerships, there is clearly no pressing need for change: on the one side, you have the possibility of making a few people feel a bit better about themselves; on the other, you have the risk of dismantling the the institution which is clearly the most effective means of raising the next generation. Pretty obvious that no change at the moment is the most sensible option.

  43. Steve Kneale:

    You have asked to be informed of others carrying the advertisement. My site (listed) has also carried the ad in support.

  44. John Richardson:

    Just to get back to the point of this (I thought), has anyone apart from Cranmer heard from the ASA yet?

    The reason I posted the ad was not actually that I felt that inclined to support (yet) another petition on the subject. Indeed, I think what we need at the moment is not petitions, which are ‘one liners’ but thought through argument.

    However, when a handful of individual complaints, which seem to owe more to their own prejudices than a willingness to confront a balance of truth can bring the force of the state to bear on an individual then, to be frank, I do get a bit of a pink mist descending.

    So I await the knock at the door – or at least I fear that if we do not do something now to stand up against this trend, the knock on the door will come.

    Here is an article I wrote in 2009 on that very topic. I don’t think anything has changed for the better.

  45. Woman on a Raft:

    I blogged it and collected set of links from what is broadly a libertarian perspective. (They may take issue with Cranmer but they don’t appreciate a company pretending to have legal authority putting the frighteners on him).

    8 out of 10 cats prefer Cranmer


  46. graham wood:

    A superb reply from Cranmer on his blog today to the busybody snoopers – and, not to put too fine a point on it – a poke in the eye for the ASA.

    As for the demand for ‘robust documentary evidence to back the claims’, all I noticed on the ad was a sea of happy smiling faces, from many delightful brides and grooms who graciously, and of their own free-will, donated these momentos of their wedding days.
    These appear to be both “robust” and “documentary” to me – or am I missing something?

    Let the curmudgeonly kill-joys in the ASA in their miserable den chew long and hard on their mean diet of ‘homophobia’, while the rest of us enjoy our free speech on the blogosphere – courtesy of Cranmer once again!

  47. Thomas Gibbon:

    I agree, a passionate very well-lawyered answer.

    It’s possible that this is simple incompetence by the ASA, but it may be malice along the lines we now see in the USA.

    The Wall Street Journal (Google ‘The President’s Hit List) says: ‘After California voters approved Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage in 2008, opponents published the names of donors, who were later linked with zip codes and Google Maps. Donors reported getting death threats. Boycotts were set against businesses, and activists encouraged customers to call and harass business owners.’

    That tactic might work in the confrontational US (although there are now signs of a backlash), but in the live-and-let-live UK it’s more likely to damage the causes of the perpetrators.

  48. Lucia Maria:

    Hi there,

    Some more links:

    Protect the Pope
    NZ Conservative
    Quid Deinde

  49. Cradle Anglican:

    For your information – also re-blogged at: http://bnafreedom.wordpress.com & The Traditional Britain Group http://www.traditionalbritain.org blog.

  50. Gordon:

    My work network web filtering blocks access to http://www.traditionalbritain.org/content/rochdale-asian-sex-scandal-tbg-member-comments as “Hate & Discrimination”.

  51. Phil Groom:

    Seriously sad to see so many people rerunning the ad. Yeah, the people who set the ASA dogs onto Cranmer have lost the plot — but why go out of your way to offend them further?

    Cranmer isn’t the kind of guy who’s simply going to curl up like a hedgehog in the headlights or lay down and die: this isn’t a rerun of the Brewers v/s Dave Walker, and there’s no need to regurgitate his content, it’s not about to disappear.

    Blog the story by all means; discuss the freedom of speech issue; but why encourage people to sign the C4M’s anti-gay petition, unless you are anti-gay? This looks less and less like WWJD and more and more like WWII, to quote a friend from another conversation.

    Do yourselves and the world a favour: sign here instead: Coalition for Equal Marriage.

  52. Lisa Graas:

    Can you define “anti-gay” without disagreeing with Christians?

  53. Phil Groom:

    LOL Lisa – one track mind, eh? Love it…

    Can you define Christian without disagreeing with everyone you meet?

  54. Lazarus:

    @ Phil

    ‘but why encourage people to sign the C4M’s anti-gay petition, unless you are anti-gay?’

    Because it’s not an anti-gay petition but a petition directed at a foolish political proposal which will undermine the central social institution of marriage…?

  55. Ben Trovato:


    When I am debating with people who want to liberalise the abortion laws, I do not accuse them of being anti-child, pro-child-killing, etc etc

    Whilst I may believe that those are the results of their views, I accept that they hold the views which they hold for reasons which appear good to them – and often for reasons which appear good to me, too; though of course I come to different conclusions and think their conclusions are profoundly wrong and result in profound evil.

    That is because I accept the sincerity of their position as a starting point for conversation, that is not just as a courtesy, nor only because it makes dialogue, rather than diatribe, possible, but also because, far more often than not, that is an accurate assessment.

    I notice that you do this extremely well, too, when debating this issue eg at Shadow Dancing, which I found a very thoughtful and respectful exchange. So I am wondering why, in your comments on this thread, you are attributing malevolent motives (‘anti-gay’, ‘homophobic’, ‘bigotry’ being the terms I’m questioning).

  56. Phil Groom:

    Go back and read it, Lazarus: it is quite specifically an anti-gay campaign, launched in response to eminently sensible government plans to bring the institution of marriage into the 21st century by ensuring that all citizens have equal access to it, so that all citizens who wish to commit to a lifelong, faithful relationship can do so without discrimination on grounds of gender or sexual orientation.

    Those behind the campaign have made it abundantly clear that they regard LGBT people as an underclass who should not be given equal rights and it is for that reason and that reason alone that they launched it and continue to pursue it. It is not a campaign for marriage but is rather a campaign for marriage inequality, specifically aimed at preventing gay couples from marrying. Were it a campaign for marriage, for family values or whatever other spin one might care to put upon it, it would have been launched long ago in opposition to easy options for divorce or in response to the promotion of ‘Marital Affairs’ not so long back. It is both hypocritical and disingenuous to pretend that this anything but an anti-gay campaign; and it has been launched out of fear — fear as you have expressed it that marriage equality will undermine marriage. That, brother, is homophobia.

    Now, to deal with Cardinal O’Brien: you say that his remarks are merely forceful, that there was no attack on homosexuals. Allow me to put it like this: suppose that Roman Catholics were not permitted to worship in the UK; then the government came along and sought to introduce worship equality, allowing Roman Catholics to share the same right to worship as everyone else. If I objected to that, declaring it to be a “grotesque subversion” of a universally accepted human right, would that or would it not constitute an attack upon Roman Catholics? Would you smile sweetly, as you appear to expect the gay community to do, and argue that using such language to deny Roman Catholics the right to worship as freely as anyone else in such terms was merely being forceful?

    Tell me truthfully: would you consider the discrimination you seek to maintain against gays acceptable were it maintained against Roman Catholics?

  57. Phil Groom:

    Ben, I am not suggesting malevolence: being anti-gay/homophobic need not carry that implication. In some cases (the USA’s Wesboro’ Baptist Church, for instance) there is clear malevolence; but in most cases I suspect it comes down to an inability and/or failure to put oneself in another’s place.

    As the C4M campaigners have made perfectly clear, they are afraid of the supposed ramifications of introducing a level playing field for straight and gay relationships: they may not acknowledge it in those terms, but such it is, and it’s no good pretending it’s anything but homophobia.

  58. Lazarus:

    @ Phil

    1) Sorry, I can’t see the Campaign in this way. (And you’d struggle to find anything on the C4M website supporting this interpretation.) It is a campaign to defend a traditional understanding of marriage against an ill considered revision.

    2) Your analogy with Roman Catholic worship is misplaced. (There is no analogy with the suppression of Catholic worship as gay people can run their own lives pretty much as they want. As a Catholic, I couldn’t care less about whether the state endorses my worship as worship so long as it doesn’t stop me doing it. As a supporter of same sex ‘marriage’, it is precisely this state endorsement that you are seeking rather than a simple freedom.)

    Try this analogy instead. If a government were to pass a law insisting that Protestant Churches were forced to conduct and understand their services in a Roman Catholic way as part of a policy of reducing sectarianism, would I regard that as a ‘grotesque subversion’ of a universally accepted human right? Yes, I would. The C4M is not about preventing the existence of civil partnerships. It is not about preventing gay relationships. It is about preventing the change of an existing institution which serves an important social purpose in the rearing of children into a frivolous ritual which serves little purpose other than making everyone feel nice.

  59. Gordon:

    Of course this proposed change of law relates to civil marriage. Not sure the churches really recognise civil marriages. They pay lip service to it, but try joining one of the sacramental churches if you have not been married in church and they will suddenly require you to do something in church to make it real.

  60. John Richardson:

    What it homophobic? Asking this question, I found this statement in an online CPS document

    “There is no legal definition of a homophobic or transphobic incident. However, we adopt this definition when applying our policy: “Any incident which is perceived to be homophobic or transphobic by the victim or any other person”. This definition is wide and covers all incidents which are felt to be homophobic or transphobic by anyone involved in them (including the perpetrator) or by anyone who witnesses them.”

    If the words actually mean what they say (any incident perceived as homophobic by any person), we are in the world of Alice Through the Looking Glass. If a person in Iceland perceives my note to the milkman asking for only two pints today as homophobic, that fits the ‘definition’. That is insane (or the person in Iceland is insane), therefore the words do not mean what they say.

    That is one of the reasons why this is all becoming so problematic.

  61. Phil Groom:

    So, Lazarus, you dismiss the desire of gay couples to live in committed, faithful relationships and to have those relationships recognised on an equal footing with straight couples as somehow changing marriage “into a frivolous ritual which serves little purpose other than making everyone feel nice.”

    Nice. Pure bigotry, in fact.

    But you’ve ignored my question: if I describe a move to grant Roman Catholics an equal right to worship as a “gross subversion” — if I go further, as Cardinal O’Brien did in his diatribe against marriage equality, and describe the Roman Catholic desire to worship as an aberration — would that or would that not constitute an attack upon Roman Catholics?

    No denial of the right of Roman Catholics to be Roman Catholics or to meet together, to run their lives pretty much as they want: merely the denial of their right to worship. Perhaps we could come up with an accommodation for them and call it Civil Similarity? That wouldn’t be a problem, surely?

  62. John Richardson:

    Can anyone comment on this, describing the ASA’s online remit?

    “From March 1st 2011, the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the CAP Code) has applied in full to marketing messages online, including the rules relating to misleading advertising, social responsibility and the protection of children. Journalistic and editorial content and material related to causes and ideas – except those that are direct solicitations of donations for fund-raising – are excluded from the remit. “

  63. Lazarus:

    Phil, you’re not really engaging in the argument. But let’s try again for the last time:

    1) It is not bigotry to describe the replacement of a social institution (marriage) which serves a clear and important social purpose (child rearing) with one that doesn’t as a ‘gross subversion’.

    2) I think I have answered your question. It depends what you mean by ‘an equal right to worship’. Let’s list the possibilities:

    a) I can perform whatever actions I like. (No problem there. Same sex couples can currently do what they like.) If the government stopped me doing this, I would regard this as an attack on Catholics. (But this isn’t analogous to the current case.)

    b) I can perform whatever actions I like, but the government gives no official recognition to them. (This is analogous to the current SSM situation. Same sex couples can have whatever rituals they want but they are without recognition as marriage by the state.) If the government acted thus, I would not regard it as an attack on Catholics.

    c) I can perform whatever actions I like, but also insist that others have to accept my understanding of them and stop doing what they are currently doing. (The precise analogy with the introduction of same sex ‘marriage’.) If the government refused to cave in to my demands here, I would not regard this as an attack on Catholics. (Indeed, the government would be quite right in defending others from my attempt at a gross subversion of existing institutions.)

  64. Lisa Graas:

    “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
    ? G.K. Chesterton

  65. David L Rattigan:

    “If the words actually mean what they say (any incident perceived as homophobic by any person), we are in the world of Alice Through the Looking Glass. If a person in Iceland perceives my note to the milkman asking for only two pints today as homophobic, that fits the ‘definition’. That is insane (or the person in Iceland is insane), therefore the words do not mean what they say.”

    John, I think you’re misinterpreting this. The definition doesn’t say any perception of homophobia is proof of a homophobic crime. It’s not dictating how police officers should decide the *truth* of an allegation, but how they should judge the *nature* of an allegation. Surely police officers have to do this all the time?

    For example, if police officers are called to a domestic situation, they may need to decide whether to treat it as, say, a domestic violence incident, a domestic dispute incident or even a sexual assault incident (those aren’t necessarily the legal terms, of course). If, because of the allegations made, the police must treat it as, say, a sexual assault incident, that doesn’t say *anything* about the truth of the allegations. It just answers the question “What kind of crime is alleged to have occurred?” which in turn informs how the police investigate it.

    The CPS document you cited makes it clear that a reported incident being categorized as a “homophobic incident” only means it MAY be a homophobic crime (6.3): http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/docs/htc_guidance.pdf

  66. David L Rattigan:

    I’ve defended Cranmer on this one, despite getting some flack from other LGBT activists. However, after I saw the ASA response this morning, I wanted to compare the response to the original email. When I went back to Cranmer’s blog, I noticed his original post was quite bitty, with snippets of the ASA email interspersed with his own paraphrases and interpretations. So I asked him if he could make the full email available for comparison.

    He kept claiming he had posted the full email, so eventually I copied and pasted all the verbatim quotes into one document, minus his paraphrases, so I could show him where the gaps were and why it would be helpful to see the full email. All I got were excuses why it would be impractical and/or he had already posted it in full (which he hadn’t).

    I’m rather baffled now why a very reasonable request was resisted so strongly. Frankly, it’s very evasive, and it’s given me suspicions I didn’t have before. Did I miss something?

    Edit: My exchange with @His_Grace is all on Twitter, if anyone wants to see how the conversation went: https://twitter.com/#!/davidlrattigan