Thursday 8 December 2016

Medb Ruane: As the UK marches to the equality drum, lesbians feel the belt of the Pope's crozier

Medb Ruane

Published 06/02/2010 | 05:00

Arsenal suffered a thrashing from Man U on Sunday but it paled to the reddener the House of Lords delivered to Harriet Harman, days after Pope Benedict intervened.

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Benedict, in case you don't know, is supposed to visit Britain this September to celebrate John Henry Newman, the Briton (and former Anglican) with Irish connections who's moving rapidly upwards in the sainthood stakes. It's an official visit, proposed by Gordon Brown and graced by Queen Elizabeth, the Church of England's Head. John Paul II's 1982 trip was pastoral.

What did Harriet do? The row pits man against woman, gay against straight, faith-based against faith-free. Back to the ropes in the left corner rests Harman, who's determined to allow same-sex couples adopt children (won that) and let gay people and dissenters work in faith-based agencies (lost on points). Limbering up near the right corner is Benedict, who, like Prince Philip, never ducks a good fight even if he's the man coming to dinner and risks insulting his hosts.

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