Baroness Knight: Parliament can’t help blind people see, so can’t help ‘artistic’ gays get married

PinkNews logo surrounded by illustrated images including a rainbow, unicorn, PN sign and pride flag.

During the second reading of the Marriage (same sex couples) Bill, Tory peer Baroness Jill Knight, who introduced Section 28, compared being gay to being blind, said that gay people were “delightful, very artistic”, and said the bill was “built on lies”.

The 85-year-old Conservative peer, made the comments during the second reading of the bill, the debate for which will take place today and tomorrow, before the vote.

She said “a higher authority” than any peer, had “already decided that people are not equal”, because “some people can see, others are blind”.

She went on to offer a stereotype about gay people, saying they are “delightful”, and “very artistic”, before observing that men can’t “bear a child”, that women can’t “produce sperm”, and that “no law on earth can change that”.

Continuing, she argued that the freedom to discriminate based on conscience should be preserved, and claimed that teachers would be made to “teach homosexuality”.

She finished by saying the Marriage (same sex couples) Bill, was “built on lies”, and said she would vote against it.

93 peers have signed up to speak in the House of Lords, during the debate around the bill today and tomorrow, when a vote will be held. Follow developments on the PinkNews Live Blog.

Baroness Knight’s full speech is available to read below.

We’ve been told by many speakers in this debate that the bill is all about equality. People must be treated equally, and Parliament must ensure it. The first statement is reasonable, the second is not. Certainly, we ar all equal before the law.

But a far higher authority than even anyone here has already decided that people are not equal. Some are stronger, cleverer, lazier, plainer, better looking, than others. Some people can see Others are blind.

If anyone brings a bill to this house to change that, I’ll be the first in the lobby to vote for it. No bill can change that.

This bill ignores a fact well understood for centuries. Marriage is not just about love. Of course homosexuals are delightful people, very artistic, and they are very loving people too. No one doubts that for one single moment, but marriage is not about just love. It is about a man and a woman, themselves created to produce children, producing children.

A man can no more bear a child, than a woman can produce sperm, and no law on earth can change that. This is not a homophobic view. It may be sad, it may be unequal, but it’s true.

This bill is either trying to pretend I can change men into women, or vice versa, or it’s telling us that children don’t need a father and a mother, or thirdly it is saying that a secure framework for children to be brought up in is not important any more.

There is more mischief here; a free and just country must allow its people to live according to their conscience. We may not agree with their views, that doesn’t matter at all.

But they have a right to follow and live by them. Year by year, in Britain, this right is being eroded. The Government assures us that no church, and no person will be forced to act against his conscience by this bill.

Didn’t they notice that the Government disallowed any amendment which would protect the right to a conscience, in earlier debates in the other place. It was all going to be fine and dandy because nobody would be forced to do anything they didn’t want to do .

Promises of this kind have been made and broken so many times that we know they’re false. It’s not fine and dandy.

In 1967, that long ago, nurses and doctors were told that those against terminations would not be forced to do abortions. Then what happened? They couldn’t get a job. Only last month, there were press reports of a court case brought by midwives, still fighting, after nearly fifty years for the rights they were promised and never received.

Christian teachers now tell us that this bill will force them to teach homosexuality, entirely against their conscience. Registrars will be told that they will be forced to conduct same-sex marriages. In fact several of them have been sacked already because they said they had a conscience against it. That doesn’t matter any more. To me, my Lords, it matters a very great deal.

You have to close your bed and breakfast arrangements if you won’t take gay couples, although pubs can refuse to serve customers; I don’t understand that.

You will be sacked form your job if you wear a cross, even a little teeny weeny one. Catholic adoption agencies have all been closed because they no longer have the right to follow their teaching, in spite of earlier assurances that they would be allowed to do so.

We should watch how much the law of conscience, and each person having a right to it, has been quietly, piece by piece disappearing. This is a bad bill, it’s built on lies, and I should vote against it.