Sunday, 6 April 2008

BBC: 'Anti-gay views' JP investigated

A magistrate has agreed not to hear cases as an inquiry gets underway into comments he made about gay men in a BBC Wales documentary.

Byron Butler is being investigated by the Advisory Committee on Justices of the Peace in Mid Glamorgan after being interviewed by Week In Week Out.

In the programme, the Bridgend JP said many thought gay men were paedophiles.

Hosted by former Steps singer, Ian 'H' Watkins, the programme looked at changing attitudes to homosexuality.

Mr Butler, 67, a magistrate for 30 years, is a former Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Mid Glamorgan, who would have deputised for the Queen's official representative in the county.

He was one of many people interviewed in the street by Watkins, who grew up in the Rhondda, for his views on homosexuality.

Mr Butler, a retired butcher, said: "We haven't got much time for them."

He continued: "Well, I think probably it's a suspicion of the mainstream that they perhaps will interfere with young people and so on and that's historically been the case. That is the danger.

"Paedophiles, solidophiles [sic], not necessarily, but they do, don't they. That's the reality." Read more
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Peter Kirk said...


John, do I infer from your link to this article that you want to defend people who make slanderous allegations against the homosexual community? If this man really did perpetuate the myth that most gay men are paedophiles, he deserves his condemnation. By all means complain when people get in trouble for telling the truth. But what this guy said is not the truth, so why defend him?

Revd John P Richardson said...

Hi Peter. Short answer, no. However, I am concerned about the implications for the link between holding public office and having what are deemed negative attitudes towards homosexuality.

In his Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, Jeffrey Satinover alleges a higher incidence of abuse amongst homosexuals than amongst heterosexuals. He writes, "... pedophilia is more common among homosexuals than among heterosexuals [...]. But it is also true that the majority of homosexuals are not pedophiles" (p62). On pp64-65, however, he continues, "... careful studies show that pedophilia is far more common among homosexuals than heterosexuals. The greater absolute number of heterosexual cases reflects the fact that heterosexual males outnumber homosexual males by approximately thirty-six to one. Heterosexual child molestation cases outnumber homosexual cases by only eleven to one, implying that pedophilia is more than three times more common among homosexuals" citing K Freund and R J Watson, "The Proportions of Heterosexual and Homosexual Pedophiles among Sex Offenders against Children: An Exploratory Study," Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 18, no.1 (1992), pp34-43. (See also this abstract.)

It may be that this - or something like it - was what Mr Butler had in mind. (Of course, it may be something else entirely - we don't know and can't tell from the report.) The question I have, however, is whether holding and voicing views based on work like Satinover's would disqualify one from public office.

My suspicion is that most people these days would feel too intimidated even to mention this possibility.

Peter Kirk said...

Fair enough, John. I would certainly hope that agreeing with Satinover would not disqualify from public office - although the gay lobby would not accept his 36 to 1 figure and so would dispute the conclusion. I would also hope that expressing an opinion that the majority of gay men are potential paedophiles, which is how I understood the report, would not be acceptable from a magistrate.