Are They Bigots? Britain's Nick Clegg Apologizes for Using the Word
BY Lucas Grindley
September 13 2012 12:27 PM ET
Nick Clegg, Britain's deputy prime minister, is apologizing for calling opponents of marriage equality in his country "bigots."
He's apologizing despite having never actually said the word himself. It was included in a draft of his prepared remarks that he was expected to deliver before an audience of LGBT activists. The deputy prime minister later said, according the the BBC, that it's not a word he'd ever use himself in the context of a debate over marriage equality.
The line in question said, "Continued trouble in the economy gives the bigots a stick to beat us with, as they demand we 'postpone' the equalities agenda in order to deal with 'the things people really care about.'"
The word "bigots" was revised to "some people." And the Daily Mail reports that Clegg sent a letter to the archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster apologizing that the word had ever been included.
"While I am a committed advocate of equal marriage, I would never refer to people who oppose it in this way," he wrote, according to the Daily Mail. "Indeed, I know people myself who do not support equal marriage and, although I disagree with them, clearly I do not think they are bigots. Nor do I think it is acceptable they, or anyone else, are insulted in this way."
The archbishop of Canterbury had called Clegg's remarks "very offensive," according to the BBC, and called on Clegg to issue a retraction. And even Prime Minister David Cameron had distanced himself from the comments.
Meanwhile, activist Peter Tatchell, director of the human rights organization, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, is planning a rally for Saturday that is in large part a rebuke of religious leaders for their antigay positions.
In announcing the event, Tatchell calls out U.K. religious leaders for opposing same-sex marriage, favoring legalized discrimination against same-sex couples, and opposing adoption by same-sex couples.
“Cardinal O’Brien in Scotland has stirred homophobic prejudice and intolerance by comparing gay marriage to slavery and by denouncing marriage equality as 'grotesque' and as an 'aberration' that will lead to society 'degenerating' into 'immorality,'" he wrote. "Saturday’s protest demands an end to religious privilege and to religious exemption from the equality laws."