How we got Jim Wells wrong, Twitter rage and the redaction of empathy…

I’d forgotten that the Jim Wells story which broke on 23rd April, an exceptionally slow news day ended up with a case being referred to the Department for Public Prosecutions. Nearly six months later and it has become very clear that Mr Wells has (and had) no case to answer.

The full transcript of his remarks show that those reported in video and audio files on social media, and here on Slugger O’Toole, diverged from Mr Wells’ fuller remarks taken in notation at the time:

“If you want gay marriage don’t vote for me. Under no circumstances will I ever support the diminution of the traditional view of marriage. Marriage is a fundamental building block of society and you tamper with it at your peril. And all those who are now demanding gay marriage want to make life extremely difficult for those who have genuine concerns — Muslim, Jews, Evangelical Christian, or devout Roman Catholic who have real difficulties with that.

And we saw with Ashers Bakery how much protection there was for people who have a genuine concern about this position. We saw the sacking of the firemen in Glasgow who were devout Roman Catholics and who refused to take part in a gay pride parade in full uniform.

We saw the sacking of the Evangelical Christian registrar in Islington because she asked her colleagues, who were happy to comply and help out, could she step aside on that particular day and do other work and let one of her other colleagues carry out a gay marriage.

That’s the real world. The demands of the gay lobby are insatiable, they simply do not know that we have gone as far as we can go in the form of civil partnerships.

Marriage is between a man and a woman; marriage is for the procreation and bringing up of children. All evidence throughout the world says the best way to raise children is in a loving, stable, married relationship; the facts show that, the facts show that certainly you don’t bring a child up in a homosexual relationship.

That a child is far more likely to be abused or neglected (uproar among audience) I say again, I say again, a child is far more likely to be abused or neglected in a non stable marriage situation, gay or straight.

I will be voting no on the 27 of April (gay marriage debate in the Assembly), I hope to be the first at the door to vote no. I feel very strongly about this and I feel the vast majority of ordinary decent people in south Down support me.

This morning’s SluggerReport, on how Twitter can lead to a widespread withdrawal of empathy (and reason):

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty