The Archbishop of Canterbury has been accused of cowardice after he was smuggled by minders this morning (Monday, 20th July) into the opening session of the Lambeth Conference at the University of Kent by the back door, to avoid lesbian and gay rights protesters from OutRage! who were peacefully picketing the front entrance. “Carey was too cowardly to face us”, said Marina Cronin of OutRage!.
Immediately after he finished delivering his presidential address, Dr. Carey was hurriedly bundled out of a side fire exit, to escape the OutRage! protesters, who were waiting to challenge him over his opposition to an equal age of consent. They held placards saying: “Carey opposes an equal age of consent”.
The OutRage! protest –against Dr. Carey’s support for continued legal discrimination against lesbians and gay men– was warmly received by many of the 800 delegates arriving at the conference hall. “Apart from homophobic abuse from two bishops who supported the church’s opposition to homosexual human rights, a gratifyingly large number of delegates gave us a warm reception”, said Marina Cronin. “We were greeted with smiles, handshakes, and words of thanks and encouragement. Bishops Harries, Selby and Spong came over and expressed their support”, said Cronin.
Last month, the Archbishop spoke out against the equalisation of the age of consent, and vowed to use his influence to reinstate a discriminatory age of 18 for gay men when the issue is debated in the House of Lords this Wednesday (22nd July).
“By opposing an equal age of consent, Dr. Carey is supporting a discriminatory law that allows 16 and 17 year old gay men to be arrested, dragged to court and jailed for up to two years for consenting homosexual relationships. His attitude is blatant persecution”, said Ray Harvey-Amer of OutRage!.
“We fear that Dr. Carey and the Bishops who sit in the Lords may succeed in overturning the Commons’ vote in favour of equality at 16.”
The age of consent is not the only issue where Dr. Carey endorses discrimination against homosexual men and women. —
“The Archbishop is opposed to lesbian and gay partners being granted legal rights, such as recognition as next-of-kin.
“As President of the Church of England Children’s Society, Dr. Carey endorses its policy of refusing to allov homosexual couples to foster children”, said Harvey-Amer.
FURTHER INFORMATION: Peter Tatchell 020-74.03.17.90
PHOTOS OF PROTEST: Rob Todd 0467-42.02.83
Simon Bebbington (ISF reporter) 0378-30.76.36