People feel forced to say they agree with gay marriage because campaigners have created a society where disagreement is “abnormal” according to an atheist commentator.
Brendan O’Neill, editor of online magazine “spiked”, said he has never encountered an issue in which the space for disagreement has “shrunk so rapidly”.
He said “critical thinking and dissenting opinion” have been sacrificed under pressure to accept gay marriage, the campaign for which is “extremely unforgiving” of disagreement.
When the commentator recently asked a British pop star whether he supports gay marriage, he said: “I want to say no… but I get so much stick already. So say ‘yes’. Definitely say ‘yes'”.
Mr O’Neill cautioned that constant pro-gay marriage messages on social media have shut down debate.
He said, “never mind convincing someone with reason; just heavy-handedly let them know it’s normal to support gay marriage, and thus presumably abnormal to oppose it.”
He said same-sex marriage has been “defined as a good by the upper echelons of society” and has its origins “among the elite”.
Mr O’Neill also questioned the apparent “massive shifts in public opinion” on gay marriage.
He quoted American journalist Christopher Caldwell, who says: “Public opinion does not change this fast in free societies. Either opinion is not changing as fast as it appears to be, or society is not free.”
In February Mr O’Neill gave evidence to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Public Bill Committee, pointing out that the proposal to redefine marriage, “gives the state greater leeway to define the meaning of marriage—the moral meaning of it—which is something that it has not done previously”.
He also said the gay marriage campaign has been an “authoritarian” one from the beginning, restricting the ability of people to say, “I think same-sex marriage is ridiculous”.