Forty gay rights activists demonstrated tonight, Tuesday, 28th July, between 6 and 7 p.m., as 800 Anglican bishops from the Lambeth Conference arrived at Festival Pier on London’s South Bank to take a boat trip down the Thames.
The demonstrators from OutRage! and other queer rights groups, including the NUS, castigated the bishops over their support for legal discrimination against homosexuals, and demanded a “Queer Reformation” to end church support for antigay discrimination. (During the recent House of Lords vote on the age of consent, Bishops voted two-to-one against equality.)
A giant billboard was erected by the protesters at the entrance to Festival Pier, emblazoned with the words: “Anglicans! Stop opposing gay human rights!”. Protesters chanted: “Church of hatred, church of fear, stop crucifying queers!”.
Some of the protesters were dressed as bishops, nuns and priests. Two OutRage! ‘bishops’ kissed each other, while a gay male nun from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence sprinkled “homo water” on the bishops from the Lambeth Conference as they arrived, “to cleanse them of the sin of homophobia”.
As Archbishop Carey arrived and hastened onto the waiting “Mayflower Garden”, the protesters redoubled their shouts of “Shame!”. But support was offered by several Conference delegates who smiled and waved approval. The Bishop of Oxford came over to express his support for lesbian and gay equality. The Bishop of Rochester, however, attempted to defend church denial of homosexual human rights, claiming that church morality overrides civil law.
“Dr. Carey and many of his Bishops are acting like the leaders of the Afrikaaner Church in South Africa during apartheid”, said John Hunt of OutRage!. “They are opposing equality and endorsing discrimination.”
As well as opposing an equal age of consent, the Anglican Church also advocates other violations of lesbian and gay human rights. —
“The Church of England Children’s Society is alone amongst the major adoption agencies in denying lesbians and gay men the right to foster deprived children, claiming that we are unfit to care for children”, said Hunt.
“Archbishop Carey supports the denial of legal rights to lesbian and gay couples, which deprives them of recognition as next-of-kin in the event of accident or death.”
FURTHER INFORMATION: Peter Tatchell 020-74.03.17.90
PHOTOS OF PROTEST: Gary Trotter 01628-54.25.54
Rob Todd 0467-42.02.83