Baroness Knight criticised for her ‘silly’ remarks about gay people and antiques

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Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has criticised Baroness Knight over her bizarre attempts at platitudes towards the gay community.

The Conservative peer voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill in Tuesday’s House of Lords vote.

Baroness Knight, who in the 1980s supported the introduction of the Section 28 law that prohibited the “promotion” of homosexuality, caused a stir during the Lords debate when she said: “a higher authority” than any peer, had “already decided that people are not equal”, because “some people can see, others are blind”.

Asked about her comments on BBC Radio 5 Live on Wednesday, Baroness Knight said she was not suggesting gay people should be discriminated against as they were in the past.

She said: “We’ve all got friends who are homosexuals. They are often extremely, very, very good at artistic things, very good at things like antiques, knowledgeable. No reason at all to say that they’re not loving.”

In response, Peter Tatchell said: “The idea that all gay people are good at the arts and antiques is a silly generalisation. Dame Jill’s views are straight out of the bad old days of the 1950s. Gay people exist in all walks of life just like their heterosexual friends and family.”

Writing exclusively on Thursday for, Conservative peer and former health secretary, Lord Jenkin of Roding, said: “There are still many people out there who will find it quite difficult to accept gay marriages; they must be given time to get used to it, so that they too come to regard it simply as part of a tolerant and civilised community.”