BBC features anti-gay campaigner to discuss first day of civil partnership conversions

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A BBC local breakfast programme this morning, in a segment about the new same-sex marriage law in England and Wales, featured an anti-gay campaigner who said same-sex marriage is a “falsehood and a fabrication”.

From today, all couples have the right to marry in England and Wales, as the first civil partnership conversion ceremonies take place. 

BBC Northampton first featured an interview with PinkNews publisher Benjamin Cohen, who explained the change taking place today, and celebrated the introduction of the conversion from civil partnerships to marriage.

Then, immediately afterwards, the show featured an interview with Alan Craig, the former leader of the Christian People’s Alliance, and the leader of Because Children Matter, who claimed that gay couples cannot provide a “stable home”, and that same-sex marriage is a “falsehood”.

Largely unchallenged by the show’s host Stuart Linnell, Craig went on to claim that the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act meant that marriage had been “wrecked”, and that “adultery is not grounds for divorce” now that same-sex couples.

Suggesting that same-sex couples are less likely to be faithful to one another in marriage, he said: “No, what I’m saying is that the government has defined gay marriage as being an open relationship. They’ve said adultery is not grounds for divorce, they’ve been quite deliberate about this, so for gay couples, unlike straight couples, if you’re straight and you commit adultery your wife has the opportunity to use that to divorce you and that is not true in gay marriage they do not have that opportunity so in other words the government was creating a fabrication, an unequal marriage for gays and they were diminishing the value of faithfulness and til death us do part.”

He said the Government is “in the process of wrecking the traditional marriage which depends on faithfulness and people being committed one to another”.

When asked by Linnell whether the thought a gay or lesbian couple could provide a “stable” background to raise a child, Craig said: “Well they tend not to because by definition gay relationships are generally much more open”.

The BBC producer responsible for the show Sam Read, refused to allow Mr Cohen back on the air to rebuff the claims made by Craig, and told PinkNews that the show was required to feature him as an opposing view, in order for the segment to be balanced.

Benjamin Cohen said: “Everyone understands the BBC, like all broadcasters, must ensure that news reporting is balanced and impartial, however when it comes to reporting on gay rights issues, the BBC seems to step well off the mark. Going out of its way to seek one of the few remaining extreme critics of gay rights to appear on the programme is inexplicable.

“As the law has already been enacted, this issue is no longer up for debate. When the first same-sex weddings took place on 29 March, the world didn’t come to an end and straight couples already married didn’t see their marriages fall apart.

“So quite why BBC Northampton felt the need to allow Alan Craig on the air to regurgitate the same old anti-gay diatribe, and for that to go unchallenged is beyond me. I was incredibly disappointed to not be allowed the opportunity to rebuff the nonsense spewed by Mr Craig.”

An ex-councillor for the London Borough of Newham, he was nominated for Stonewall’s ‘Bigot of the Year’ award in 2012.

The year before he caused outrage by comparing gay equality advocates to the invading forces of Nazi Germany, dubbing them the “Gaystapo”.

In October this year, he applied to join UKIP.

BBC Northampton has not returned a call from PinkNews.