Gay campaigners protesting against Section 28 interrupted a lecture by Cardinal Winning in Croydon, south London, on the evening of Tuesday, 7th March.
The brief peaceful protest took place in St. Mary’s Catholic Church Hall, where the Cardinal was giving the 12th annual Cobb Memorial Lecture, in honour of the First World War conscientious objector, Charles Cobb.
The Cardinal’s lecture was on the themes of social justice, respect and solidarity.
Twenty minutes into his lecture, when Cardinal Winning was extolling the importance of respecting other people, Peter Tatchell of OutRage!, who was sitting in the audience, shouted out: “Why don’t you respect gay people? Why do you oppose gay human rights?”
Ignoring the interjection, the Cardinal continued his lecture.
Six members of the gay rights group OutRage! then walked onto the platform and surrounded Cardinal Winning, holding up placards emblazoned with the words “Stop Crucifying Queers” and “Apologise for Church Homophobia”.
Mr. Tatchell took the microphone and criticised the Cardinal’s support for laws that discriminate against lesbians and gay men. Another OutRage! member, Huw Williams, shouted at Cardinal Winning: “It’s about time you stopped supporting discrimination”.
Church officials ripped down the placards and tried unsucessfully to hustle the protesters off the platform.
The police were called and eventually the protesters left peacefully. One member of OutRage! was arrested but was later released without charge outside the meeting.
“It is hypocritical for Cardinal Winning to talk about justice, respect and solidarity, when he denies these things to lesbians and gay men”, said Peter Tatchell.
“Inviting the Cardinal to give this lecture is an insult to the memory of Charles Cobb. Whereas Cobb took a stand against injustice, Cardinal Winning endorses the injustice of antigay discrimination.
“Cardinal Winning opposes gay equality on Section 28, the age of consent, marriage, employment, military service and the fostering and adoption of children.
“He has condemned love between people of the same sex as a ‘disorder’ and ‘perversion’, and he endorses the Catholic catechism’s denunciation of homosexuality as a ‘grave depravity'”, said Mr. Tatchell.
PHOTOS: ISF news agency – 01628-54.25.54
PHOTOS: Piers Allerdyce – 0976-72.43.90
FURTHER INFORMATION: Peter Tatchell – 020-74.03.17.90