Nicely done Ireland

The country becomes the first in the world to introduce same-sex marriage after a national referendum, with 62 per cent voting yes.

Ireland has voted to recognise same sex marriag, with a turnout of 60%, of whom 62% voted yes to rewording their constitution on the subject of marriage.

Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.


Source: Ireland votes overwhelmingly for gay marriage – Channel 4 News

With enemies like these…… 4

….Tim Montgomerie doesn’t have much to worry about.  Montgomerie runs the  ConservativeHome blog/website and is a key member of the Christian Conservative Fellowship.  Despite such a dodgy pedigree he has come out to say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with gay marriage.  In fact, it would be a good thing for society

It is because I value marriage so much that I have come to believe it should be extended to gay people and not kept exclusive. Because it is so beneficial an institution it should be enlarged rather than fossilised.

The fossils are predictably upset by what is a fairly reasonable reading of the benefits of gay marriage. Richard Carvath- God’s self-appointed bigot in Salford- weighed in with his usual illogic (I’ve removed the link because the original post has been deleted and there’s no point sending you to an empty page. Luckily my RSS reader had it cached, so there’s a copy of it below).

Tim, understand that you are a traitor to Conservatism and, moreover, you are betraying Christ and mocking God in your support for the destruction of marriage and in your advocacy of evil perversion. You are in active rebellion against God; be very clear that in supporting the destruction of marriage you have chosen to place yourself at the right hand of Satan.

There’s never a coherent explanation of exactly how gay marriage is going to so completely and easily destroy “traditional” marriage when someone has one of these rants. Straight folk are still going to be allowed to wed. Those of us who aren’t pathetic bigots run the risk of going to more weddings- which’ll be a bit more expensive and tiring- but that’s the only way most of us are going to be affected.

[I have missed Carvath’s uninformed bigotry since he took some sort of sabbatical.  Hopefully now he’s back to being a regular source of amusement.]

Update: Carvath has taken his post down.  He does that a lot.  Fortunately, my RSS reader has it cached-

Living a Lie: the Madness of Montgomerie

Over the last couple of years this blog has become a cult blog for mainstream British Conservatives.  This blog’s popularity is partly down to the fact that I say what I say openly rather than anonymously, and partly because it is a platform which has given an online public voice to grassroots Conservatives’ offline views and discussions.  Probably because I am an evangelical Christian – as well as a fellow conservative – I have to say I’ve been deluged by approaches from so many Conservatives in recent weeks in response to The Madness of Tim Montgomerie.  Conservatives are appalled and horrified by Tim Montgomerie’s loss of the plot.  I’ve been asked to write this blog on behalf of all genuine Conservatives – and evangelical Christians in particular – to urge Tim to come to his senses:

Dear Tim,

You identify yourself as a ‘Conservative’ and a ‘Christian’ and yet you support the destruction of marriage and endorse evil behaviour.  On behalf of Christians and Conservatives throughout the UK, I must point out to you that you are not one of us.

We were horrified to read of Stonewall boss Ben Summerskill gloating over you when he said: “We’re delighted that, having heard the arguments, one of Britain’s most influential evangelical Christians is now able fully to support marriage for gay people without compromising his faith in any way.”

Tim, understand that you are a traitor to Conservatism and, moreover, you are betraying Christ and mocking God in your support for the destruction of marriage and in your advocacy of evil perversion.  You are in active rebellion against God; be very clear that in supporting the destruction of marriage you have chosen to place yourself at the right hand of Satan.

Your support for the destruction of marriage is emphatically not God’s will; in seeking to destroy marriage you are doing the bidding of your real master Satan.  Tim, you claim to be a Christian… but you are living a lie.

You were seduced away from the truth when you began to idolise your own status within the Conservative Party and put yourself and your career before God, before sound principle and before the best interests of the British people.

Have you any idea just how devastating the destruction of marriage will be if you get your evil way?  Tim… Wake up!  Repent!

Yours sincerely,


And life is grand….. 1

The world isn’t as shit as some people would like you to think. I just thought that needed saying. We are, whatever they tell you, in a better place now than we were in whatever Golden Age they claim we should return to.

People are living longer and more productive lives, child mortality rates are down and diseases which could in the past kill or cripple can now be treated effectively. Some of the worst diseases have been eradicated. Provided you don’t take up chainsaw juggling there’s every chance you’ll live longer than your grandparents. Long term the human race is evolving faster than ever as groups move around the world, intermarry and mix their genes in new and interesting ways.

Freedom is spreading too. More and more people have more and more rights and protections from discrimination. In Britain the Conservatives- once the party of nasty, and occasionally closeted, homophobia- have announced consultation on, and likely introduction of, gay marriage. Racism and sexism are less prevalent than they once were, despite some hold outs. Certainly, some countries have a long, long way to go, but we’re dragging them after us.

Technology is breaking down barriers and spreading information. It’s harder to get away with doing wrong and easier to bust a lie. I have my moments of Luddism, but I do believe that technology opens up so many possibilities it can only be used for good (on balance) in the long run.

And there’s more, but you get the picture.

Of course, we shouldn’t get complacent. We still run the risk of bringing the planet to a point of ecological collapse where it rejects us. There are people who would gladly reverse the positive changes we’ve made, who don’t want others to get the same rights they have. They’re in the minority, and mostly just obnoxious ranters, but they’re loud and some politicians are stupid enough to be scared of them. We need to keep the momentum of progress rolling forward.

This has turned out a simplified version of what I meant to say, but I think succinct is fine. And it’s all just an excuse to play you one of my all time favourite songs anyway-

Girls are dirty. I like that

On the left is a breakdown of same sex experiences and desires amongst women on dating site okcupid who described themselves as straight. Over half of them have had, or want to have, a sexual encounter with someone of the same sex.

Ladies, I salute you.

The guys are letting the side down by comparison (right pie chart). Come on boys, get your thumbs (and other bits) out. (In the interest of full disclosure, I fall into the 7% slice of this pie.)

People who’ve signed up to a dating site are a self selecting bunch as far as the deeper meaning of these statistics go. They’re likely to be a bit more adventurous than the general population. However, I think these pie charts illustrate the wonderful fluidity of human sexuality. It’s far more varied, and fun, than the homophobes would have us believe.

The pie charts were taken from this interesting post about statistical differences between gay and straight members of okcupid.

via Ben Goldacre’s twitter feed.

King Penguins aren’t gay, they’re horny and bisexual

When there aren’t enough members of the opposite sex around, king penguins will pair off into gay couples. In zoos these couples have been given fertilised eggs and successfully hatched them and reared the chicks. Gay penguin couples will often split up and go off to find same sex partners later. The report doesn’t make it clear whether the penguins cycled between same and opposite sex partners.

Some people are trying to suggest that this somehow trumps all the other evidence of gay behaviour in hundreds of species, which is a typically huge logical jump. All it proves is that penguins are mostly bi.

What are perversion activities, and where can I get some 2

My post a fortnight ago “How To Say Nothing With Numbers” generated a bit of a comment thread as the subject of the post- wannabe politician Richard Carvath- dropped in to prove that he couldn’t understand my point. He’s quite good at repeating his claims over and over after they’ve been shown up and then declaring it a victory. When he stopped doing that he did say a couple of things which deserve some closer inspection.

Carvath is adamant that only 1% of the population is gay. I used this figure in my calculations as well as the old “1-in-10” to get a spread of figures for take up of civil partnerships. The true pink percentage is somewhere between those two figures- different polling techniques in different countries return widely varying results. Carvath sticks to his 1% and implies that as they’re only a hundredth of the population homosexuals are too insignificant a minority to be listened to or to have equal rights extended to. Never mind that it’s how we behave toward the minorities, rather than constantly favouring the majority, which shows how good or bad we are as a society, Carvath is on very shaky ground when he starts dismissing small segments of the population. He describes himself as a “Hebraic evangelical Christian”. I’m not at all sure what that is, and Googling it doesn’t help. A strict search for that exact phrase returns one result (maybe two now). I’m not sure that being a Googlewhack counts as a religion. Maybe he can be put into the “Other Christian” denomination in the breakdown of British denominations, which would make the group he’s affiliated to 0.4% of the population. An insignificant minority, by Carvath’s standards, not worth paying attention to. However, as I’m not him, I don’t think we should limit their ability to marry.

More interesting, though, is a phrase that Carvath started using toward the end of the thread. Apparently, gay couples can’t marry because they’re not sexually compatible. All they can manage are “perversion activities”. Colour me intrigued. These perversion activity things sound quite interesting. What are they, exactly? I asked, but he wasn’t forthcoming with definitions. I really want to know, can anyone tell me what on earth Richard Carvath means when he goes on about “perversion activities”? Suggestions in the comments please.

Let’s hear it for the Quakers, Unitarians and other decent Christians 2

Manchester Pride 2010

Manchester Pride 2010

Manchester Pride 2010

As I’m in an ongoing comment argument (on this post) with a couple of homophobic morons who think their religion gives them special dispensation to be bigots I thought I should show that some Christians are decent people who view the world from an adult perspective rather than one tainted by a few sentences in the Bible. I don’t share their religion, and I’ll no doubt disagree with them about a lot of things, but I respect their mature attitude to others.

I now declare you saint and saint. You may kiss the groom.

Academics have found evidence that, as recently as the 18th century, the church never used to have a problem with homosexual relationships and marriages. In fact most religions took a more enlightened view in the past than they do now. What happened to silence the decent wings of these religions and have the reactionary bigots dominate the debate?

This link was supposed to be part of last nights link dump from delicious, but the database/server was having one of its tantrums and they didn’t appear. I’m posting this one in particular because it was mentioned in the comments to this post.

How to say nothing with numbers 31

I used to analyse data for a living. It’s fascinating to take a whole load of numbers, postcodes and geodemographic data (in my case) and come up with something meaningful, particularly if it makes a pretty map or graphic. I haven’t done any hardcore number crunching for years, and sometimes I miss it. What I did this morning hardly counts, but it was a little bit of fun.

Religious-idiot Richard Carvath did some primary school maths and was awfully pleased with the result. In the last 5 years 80,000 people have entered into civil partnerships. If the population of the UK is 60 million then you just divide one by the other and multiply by 100 to find that a mere 0.13% of the British population is interested in civil partnership! This is so small that it really means that nobody is interested! Civil partnership is irrelevant so we should stop doing them! (We’ll pass over Carvath’s usual bleating about how civil partnerships are destroying the institution of marriage. I don’t think he can comprehend that it can’t be both insignificant and a clear and present danger at the same time.)

Of course, that number is meaningless. For a start,around 19% of the country’s population is aged under 16. Take them out of the numbers and you have an adult population of around 48.6 million. Do the maths again and now 0.16% of the adult population is in a civil partnership. Still a tiny proportion, you might say, but this is still a flawed number. Most of the population aren’t gay- the majority of people would qualify for a “normal” marriage.

Carvath has insisted that only 1% of people are homosexual, a more commonly held figure is 10%. So between 1.65% and 16.5% of those eligible have taken up civil partnerships since they were introduced. How many heterosexual marriages have there been in that same period?

Well the Office of National Statistics says there were 232,990 marriages in England and Wales in 2008. Perhaps the Scots don’t get married. Rounding that up to 250,000 to give the straights a chance, that’s half a million people getting married every year, 2.5 million married people within five years. Between 5.2% and 5.72% of the straight adult population has got married within the last 5 years. If homosexuals are really as tiny a minority as Carvath likes to think then the numbers actually show that they’re over three times more likely to get civil partnered than straights are to get married. More realistic figures give marriage the threefold advantage over civil partnership.

The article Carvath cribbed his figures from crows about an increase in the number of civil partnerships being dissolved- 351 in 2009. Per thousand people married, this means that around 8.75 will get divorced. For the record the equivalent number for straight marriages in 2008 was 11.2. So it’s not clear what they were trying to prove.

What has my data mining proved? Mostly that if you want meaningful statistics you have to do a little bit of work establishing context etc.. It’s not clear whether Carvath was behaving like a tabloid- working out the worst looking number and assuming his audience are too dumb and gullible to question it or spot the logical flaws- or he really thought he was doing some clever analysis. I’m normally a charitable chap, but experience tells me that the latter is more likely than the former, not that either speak well for the man.

Everybody loves a man in uniform

The Household cavalry has celebrated its first gay wedding.

One groom wore ceremonial uniform with his Iraq medal, the other morning dress with an orchid. Surrounded by silverware and paintings commemorating great battles, Lance Corporal James Wharton, 23, and his new husband enjoyed their first dance to Tina Turner in the warrant officers’ mess of the most prestigious regiment in the land.

via Pickled Politics

It’s Rainbow month!

February is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender history month.

Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans History Month takes place every year in February. It celebrates the lives and achievements of the LGBT community. We are committed to celebrate its diversity and that of the society as a whole. We encourage everyone to see diversity and cultural pluralism as the positive forces that they are and endeavour to reflect this in all we do.

Heterosexual marriage is brainwashing!

At least, that’s one of the messages I get from a typically dumb attack on gay marriage by Orson Scott Card

When they are able to create children together, married people then provide the role models for those children to learn how to become a man or a woman, and what to expect of their spouse when they themselves marry.

When a heterosexual couple cannot have children, their faithful marriage still affirms, in the eyes of other people’s children, the universality of the pattern of marriage.

When a heterosexual couple adopts children who are not their genetic offspring, they affirm the pattern of marriage and generously confer its blessings on children who might otherwise have been deprived of its benefits.

He also manages to contradict himself at least once, implying at the end that the “biological imperative” is one man, one woman for ever and ever but earlier commenting on the “nearly universal male biological desire for diversity in mating”. So, which is more compelling to your dirty little genes? I feel it’s spreading your seed. It’s telling that Card likens marriage to property laws, because his interpretation of marriage is all about owning his wife, children and grandchildren rather than entering into some sort of equal partnership.

I’ve never read any of the man’s books, and don’t intend to.

Going down

As an aside to a conversation on Messenger, I went off and typed “cunnilingus” into Amazon’s site search. They have three books and one dvd listed that are specifically about it-

The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus: How to Go Down on a Woman and Give Her Exquisite Pleasure

From one of the reader reviews-

My girlfriend was blown away just hours after I read this book. A lot of the techniques contained in this book will make your performance well above the average man.

My only complaint is that the material in this book is available to other men as well!

The Master’s Guide to Cunnilingus: How to Perform Successful Oral Sex and Provide the Highest Degree of Pleasure Possible

A bit of a cumbersome title, but it gets 5 stars from its reader reviews.

Box Lunch: The Layperson’s Guide to Cunnilingus

More from the lesbian perspective, but possibly of use to us men.

Nina Hartley RN Guide to Cunnilingus

A Region 1 dvd that isn’t available at the moment.

Maybe I should add them to my wish list.

Creepy EBay stuff – what's so gaily interesting about smelly trainers?

I like browsing through the “Other” section of EBay, because it brings to light interesting stuff such as male chastity devices. Today’s bizarre find is even harder to understand. What, really, would be the gay interest in smelly trainers, especially scally ones.

Enlighten us, but don’t make us go too Eeeeeewwww!

Pride 2007

Pride 2007, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

Maybe I should demand that the cameraman in the next Spinneyhead production looks like this. Check out the Pride 2007 set on Flickr for many more photos.