So far it is rather murky exactly what Philip Hammond said when meeting equal marriage campaigners, and how close he really got to bracketing equal marriage with incest. Paul Waugh’s account neatly rounds-up the evidence and the questions about it.
What however hasn’t been challenged is what some of the protesters shouted at Philip Hammond:
He was greeted by protestors’ chants of ‘Gay, straight, black, white: marriage is a civil right’, ‘Hey, (hey), ho, (ho), homophobia’s got to go’, ‘Say it loud, say it clear, bigots are not welcome here’, ‘Unequal rights? We don’t buy it: we remember the Stonewall riots’, and ultimately, ‘Fuck off Philip Hammond, you homophobe’.
It’s a classic case of how not to protest, because the sort of abuse the chanters descended to is just what make opponents dig in their heals and cling even more strongly to their existing views, and which also is just what puts off those unsure on an issue.
Equality comes from persuading people to change their views. Legislative success comes from winning over supporters. Chanting abuse like that achieves neither.