Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Irish Hate and Humor

It hurts to admit it, but even the fundies are more fun in the U.K. The first same-sex union had verbally hateful protestors, but lots of yucks too.

The event occurred in Belfast, because Northern Ireland has the shortest waiting period. The Times Online was there with the very amusing coverage.

For a taste, consider:
Seventy guests packed one of the campest buildings in these islands (the City Hall is nicknamed “the Wedding Cake” for its Rococo flourishes of Victoriana) as Shannon Sickels and Grainne Close exchanged rings and vows...

But Northern Ireland’s fundamentalist streak ensured that the “Save Ulster from Sodomy” brigade — mostly members of the Rev Ian Paisley’s Free Presbyterian Church — were outside singing hymns and hurling abuse such as “sodomy is a sin”, “you’re going to Hell” and “filth, filth, filth”.

Happily for the couple on their big day a counter-demonstration soon formed, with humour as its main weapon. Two satirical interlopers infiltrated the anti-gay ranks wearing garish sports jackets and toothbrush moustaches but no trousers, carrying their own placards as an antidote to the religious tracts being paraded in Donegall Square.

These read “Bring back slavery” and “Earth is flat”. There was so much laughter that even the moral indignation of the Christian fundamentalists seemed on the verge of giggles. At times it seemed that the excitement generated by the first occasion on which a same-sex couple could legally commit themselves to one another would descend into a punch-up. That it did not perhaps speaks volumes about how much this once dourly Presbyterian city, where playground swings used to be chained up on Sundays, has changed.

Read it all.

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