Ex-Telegraph editor provokes gay marriage storm
Charles Moore accused of being 'provocative' and 'nasty' with his remarks on gay marriage
FORMER Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore has sparked a social media storm ahead of tonight's Commons vote by claiming that gay marriage could not be consummated and was a "frivolous" lifestyle choice.
Moore, appearing on Radio 4's Today programme alongside lesbian Labour frontbencher Angela Eagle, said heterosexual marriage was "the best way to bring up children".
Reminded by Eagle that not all heterosexual married couples had children, and gay people had sexual relationships, the former editor claimed "marriage is just coming to be seen as what you might call a lifestyle choice".
He went on: "Gay marriage is not the same as heterosexual marriage and also it's bringing about a strange situation where in fact anybody of the same sex can marry anybody of the same sex for any reason because there is no sexual element in this bill."
The discussion prompted Julia Hobsbawm, the founder of Editorial Intelligence, to label Moore's arguments "so poor they were almost quaint", while Ellie Cumbo of UK Feminista tweeted, "Dear Charles Moore: straight people like me are put off marriage when you lot make it more about contrasting genitals than happiness. Stop".
PR consultant Stefan Stern said: "Angela Eagle sounded like the calm establishment figure and Charles Moore like the agitated protester. Things have changed." Other Twitter users described Moore's views as "nasty" and "provocative" – and fellow guest Eagle audibly gasped when he described gay marriage as "frivolous".
The Daily Mail's political editor James Chapman, looking ahead to tonight's Commons vote, tweeted: "Angela Eagle just owned Charles Moore. Good courteous debate, though - don't expect it'll be same in Commons later."
Eagle, Labour's shadow Leader of the House, argued that marriage is constantly evolving. "We have to remember that in 2003 it was possible to sack someone for being gay. In 2007 you could still be refused service in a shop or access to a hotel because of your sexual orientation. I think we have to remember this is the final piece of the puzzle."