Green Party claims it didn’t expel Councillor because of her Christian beliefs on gay marriage

The Green Party claims it didn’t expel Councillor Christina Summers for her Christian beliefs about gay marriage following an internal inquiry into complaints that Christina Summers had voted against gay marriage at Brighton Council.

Protect the Pope first reported this story on the 3rd August 2012:

Christina Summers, a member of Brighton and Hove City Council in Sussex, faces expulsion from the Green party for voting against a motion in support of the Government’s plans to allow homosexual couples to marry. Since voicing her opposition to same-sex ‘marriage Christina Summers has received a stream with emails accusing her of homophobia, suggesting she is mentally ill and even describing her as a fascist.

Christina Summers is a Christian who explains that she strongly supports gay rights and the introduction of civil partnerships but could not back the change to marriage laws on religious grounds. She argued that equality did not require changing the traditional definition of marriage and told colleagues it was a matter of “freedom of speech” for her in a party which does not applying a whipping system in the council in votes on matters of conscience.

Following her speech supporting the true understanding of marriage fellow Green councillors voted to launch an “official inquiry process” into her stance, accusing her of bringing the party into disrepute.

In a statement Rob Shepherd, member of the executive committee of Brighton and Hove Green Party explained their torturous logic behind expelling Councillor Summers for voting against gay marriage for reasons of conscience as a Christian but claiming her expulsion had nothing to do with issue of free speech or freedom of religion:

“On 23 July the Green Group of councillors on Brighton & Hove City Council asked for the formation of a panel of inquiry to look into issues relating to Councillor Christina Summers, following her disclosure in council that she did not support equal (or same-sex) civil marriage.

“Equal marriage is a long-held policy of the Green Party and something that the Green Party was championing when the other main parties were still thinking about civil partnerships.

“I want to be clear that the Green Group members’ request for an inquiry was nothing to do with Councillor Summers’ religious views on same-sex marriage or about her right to voice her beliefs. Green city council leader Jason Kitcat highlighted Councillor Summers’ right to freedom of expression in his response to her speech and the party has since made public statements to the same effect. Speaking and voting against policy would not, of itself, be a matter for an internal inquiry. Councillor Summers is not the first to do so and won’t be the last. This is not an issue of free speech. Nor is it a religious matter.

[Protect the Pope comment: These are the usual denials from secularists when they sack, demote or expel Christians for expressing their beliefs in public. After making such hollow denials that it has got nothing to do with freedom of speech or freedom of religion the usual practice is to justify the expulsion with a smoke screen of misdirection and character assassination. And this is what we find in these weasel words.]

“The Green Party is as welcoming of Christians as it is of any other faith; indeed, we have other Christians in our Green Group, not to mention a Christian Chief Executive and a Christian national party chair.

“The Green Party is a fierce defender of free speech and freedom of beliefs.

“The issue was that when she stood as a Green candidate, and when she asked people to vote for her as a Green councillor, Councillor Summers had made a written undertaking that if she was selected as a candidate and elected to public office, she would uphold and advance the values of “equality for all people, regardless of race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, religion, social origin or any other prejudice.”"

“The councillors who asked for the inquiry wanted to know whether Councillor Summers was in breach of her undertaking as a candidate.

“Councillor Summers has argued in the media that equality of marriage for same sex couples is not an issue of equality.

“The councillors who asked for the inquiry would not agree with her.

“This was a completely internal inquiry and, for all Councillor Summers knew, might quickly have exonerated her.

[Protect the Pope comment: But it wasn't a completely internal matter to the Green Party because the publicity about them holding an internal inquiry and making threats of expulsion following Councillor Summers speaking against gay marriage resulted in a vicious and intimidating hate campaign against her from anonymous trolls]

“However, Councillor Summers turned immediately to an outside agency, the Christian Legal Centre, and its CEO, Andrea Minichiello Williams, who put out a press release and briefed the press with anti-Green sentiments, claiming that the party had instituted “disciplinary proceedings against one of its councillors for refusing to vote in favour of same-sex marriage”, which was untrue.

[Protect the pope comment: So the Green Party is claiming it did not hold an internal inquiry with associated threats of expulsion because she refused to support homosexual marriage? The complaint by the other Green councillor that instigated the proceedings against Counciller Summers was not about her public opposition to gay marriage? What was it about then?]

“It claimed that “[The Green Party] seeks to remove Christina Summers for her views on marriage” which was untrue, talking about “the strong-arm tactics of the Green Party apparatchiks” and more, all extremely anti-party and all pre-judging the outcome of an inquiry that hadn’t even sat, and incorrectly seeking to tie the remit of the panel into a question faith freedom.

“On the back of all this, and entirely of her own accord, Councillor Summers appeared in local and national newspapers and on radio and TV.

“Is this the action of someone who is loyal to the Green Party and holds the same views and values as the party, which was seeking to be scrupulously fair to everyone involved?

[Protect the Pope comment: Well this is as clear as mud. So let's get this straight Councillor Summers wasn't expelled for voicing opposition to gay marriage?  An internal inquiry wasn't held because of her opposition to gay marriage?  Instead according to the Green Party she was expelled for seeking legal advice and for protesting in public that she was threatened with expulsion because she opposed gay marriage as a Christian?And this has got nothing to do with freedom of speech and freedom of religion? How about freedom of legal representation? How about freedom to protect your reputation when you're being accused of being a homophobe and a fascist?] ]

“Since that time, the inquiry panel has met several times, including a meeting with Councillor Summers and another adviser from the Christian Legal Centre.

“Earlier today, the panel notified its conclusions to the Green Group of councillors and to Councillor Summers.

“The panel does not have the power to expel Councillor Summers from the party or to remove her as a councillor but it has concluded that, in relation not to her speech or vote in the council chamber or her sincerely held religious views, but in relation to her breach of her own written undertakings as a council candidate and her recent behaviour towards the party, she should be expelled from the Green Group of councillors, making her an independent councillor.”

[Protect the Pope comment: Well there you have it, Councillor Summers was not expelled from the Green Group of councillors because she could not support gay marriage legislation as a Green Councillor but because she could not support gay marriage as a Green councillor. And she was also expelled for seeking legal advice and speaking in public after being on the receiving end of a hate campaign sparked off by the Green party publicly instigating an internal inquiry with the threat of expulsion.

This how  Christina Summers described the hate campaign against her in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. She said there was a violent prejudice against her as a Christian within the Green party. She provoked fury from some colleagues in the party earlier this year when she made clear her opposition to abortion on grounds of conscience, something she said had “brought to the surface a very violent prejudice” against her as a Christian in the party.

“There has been huge vilification against me.  The response to the way I debated and voted against [the motion] has been very vicious, but it doesn’t surprise me because whenever I or any Christian touches on issues of life or identity it does elicit a very, very violent response with very strong accusatory language. At the end of the day those who voted to try to expel me would have had some suspicion about me being a Christian anyway, and coming in [to the party].

Unfortunately this is such a deep issue for so many of them that they could not help but look for the evidence that this Christian is a bigot, that this Christian is homophobic. And the moment I touch on issues of life or identity they say there’s the evidence she a bigot, they can’t help it.

The disappointment is just simply the whole viciousness of it and people really believe what they are saying, they really do believe that I’m homophobic, that I need psychiatric help, that I’m basically a fascist.  People really believe this but they know nothing about me. Of all people my colleagues should know better.’

Protect the Pope comment: In his statement on behalf of the Brighton and Hove Green Party Rob Shepherd made no mention of the hate campaign against his former Councillor, nor  did he condemn the trolls who intimidated and abused her, or did he defend her freedom of speech or freedom of religion, he just claimed her expulsion had nothing to do with her freedom of speech or freedom of religion. Instead, by waving the magic word ‘equality’ around a couple of times Rob Shepherd hopes to mesmerize us into accepting that black is white, and that the Green Party isn’t anti-Christian.




12 comments to Green Party claims it didn’t expel Councillor because of her Christian beliefs on gay marriage

  • Eric

    Wow. They have really made a mess of what ought to have been a very simple matter or “these are the rules of the club – take it or leave it”

  • Karla

    Greens urge end to ban on same-sex marriage

    ‘Greens are concerned that women seeking an abortion who can afford to “go private” can receive a swifter, and hence medically safer, procedure. The Greens want to abolish the current law that requires the consent of two doctors for an abortion. The Greens believe appropriately qualified midwives and nurses should be able to perform abortions, with the aim of improving access to NHS facilities. Currently women seeking an abortion face waits of up to seven weeks, and nearly 10% of abortions are carried out privately’

    Green Party leader in fight to end animal cruelty in circuses

    Concerned about the environment, and animal cruelty but their platform supports human lives being slaughtered in the womb – the hypocrisy of the left

  • JosephMatthew

    Whereever we look. the Greens are even more pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia than Labour.

  • El Nino

    In the Guardian recently there was a discussion about ‘bigotry’ after Nick Clegg’s slip of the keyboard.

    In it, it was stated that if you are a bigot then it makes every sense to deny it. My thoughts immediately went to Peter Tatchell, arch-bigot, but very sensitive indeed to the charge.

    Now, straight from the Tatchell playbook, come the Brighton and Hove Greens.

  • Jonathan Marshall

    The Green Party is the most rigidly authoritarian political party in Britain, and virulently anti-Christian in general and anti-Catholic in particular.

    I cannot see how any faithful Catholic could possibly join such a Party; Cllr Summers has in effect been expelled for Thoughtcrime.

    • Mark Thorne

      Jonathan, I struggle to see how a faithful Catholic will be able to even cast a vote in the next election without co-operating in some way with material evil, let alone become a member of a political party.

      It’s a tremendous pity that the UK Green party have become more interested in setting up LGBT groups nowadays than they are in “saving” the planet. It would be wonderful if there were a political voice in Britain that followed Pope Benedict’s thoughtful and inspiring teaching on human ecology, but I shan’t hold my breath. “Conscience” has become an ugly word for all the political parties in Britain except possibly for UKIP, as they become enmeshed further and further in the totalitarianism that stems from moral relativism; look at how three-line whips are going to enforced by the Lib Dems, Labour and the Green Party for the forthcoming vote on unnatural marriage. David Cameron would enforce a three-line whip with the Tories too if he felt he could get away with it.

      • Jonathan Marshall

        Absolutely right. Although I am a lifelong conservative, I shall not be voting Conservative at the next election, as they are no longer actually conservative. UKIP will get my vote faute de mieux.

  • Mike2

    If someone in a political party has made a written undertaking to vote in favour of something but then doesn’t I can see that this could be a matter of concern for people in that party. But “Councillor Summers had made a written undertaking that if she was selected as a candidate and elected to public office, she would uphold and advance the values of “equality for all people, regardless of race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, religion, social origin or any other prejudice.”” So it was a matter of interpretation. Councillor Summers’s interpretation of that undertaking was different from that of other people in the Green Party. However, she did not have the freedom to keep to her own interpretation; she had to abide by somebody else’s. This is an interesting comment on the mindset of people in the Green Party but it should not be a surprise to anybody.
    Mr Shepherd said, “The Green Party is as welcoming of Christians as it is of any other faith; indeed, we have other Christians in our Green Group, not to mention a Christian Chief Executive and a Christian national party chair.”
    Clearly the Green Party is welcoming of any Christian as long as that Christian rejects a number of basic Christian doctrines. Unfortunately there are Christians around who do so and that gives people like Mr Shepherd the opportunity to claim that his party is welcoming of Christians.

    And the silence from people in the Green Party regarding the campaign of hatred towards Christine Summers is also significant. Do those who fail to condemn this hatred thereby condone it?

    Incidentally, the Scottish Green Party in 2007 made a written undertaking to abolish Catholic schools. When this undertaking was highlighted by two Catholic headteachers the SGP tried to pretend that they had made no such undertaking but the cat was out of the bag and they could not put it back in again. The undertaking was in their manifesto.

  • derrytresksupporter

    Nick, Just another alert from this side of the pond! Mary McAleese, ex- president, who is currently studying Canon Law in Rome, has come out stating in the Irish: Times, News and Indepedent, that the Church has lost the battle and argument against homosexuality and like contraception, must change, otherwise more young people could take their lives!! Let us not forget that it was she who took bread and wine at St Patrick’s Anglican Catherdal, Dublin when she took office. This caused much confusion among the faith ful and was heavily criticised by the Irish bishop’s especially Cardinal (then Archbishop) Connell and yet she received no church punishment whatsoever!!!

    You can read this on the Irish News, Irish Indepenant and Irish Times online; safe to say that the online comments to this news is well done Mary, while very few critical of her comments and I think this could warrent a piece by your goodself given its nature. Thanks Nick and God Bless!

  • Mike2

    As Fr Boyle wrote back in 2010:
    There is no room in the modern Conservative Party for a Christian. (Unfortunately we have to amend that to ‘real Christian’.)
    This followed David Cameron’s disciplining of Philip Lardner because he wrote the following comment on his website:
    “As your MP I will support the rights of parents and teachers to refuse to have their children taught that homosexuality is ‘normal’ behaviour or an equal lifestyle choice to traditional marriage.”
    In the offending article Mr Lardner said he supported homosexual rights to live the lives they want in private.
    “But I will not accept that their behaviour is ‘normal’ or encourage children to indulge in it,” he continued.
    “Toleration and understanding is one thing, but state-promotion of homosexuality is quite another…” But Mr Cameron insisted that the Conservative Party supports gay equality, adding: “I couldn’t have acted quicker – decisive action in minutes of finding out about this.” Andrew Fulton, chairman of the Scottish Conservatives, confirmed Mr Lardner’s party membership had been suspended, adding: “These views have no place in the modern Conservative party.”

  • When I was a Councillor the job was about making homes available, protecting the environment, looking after schools, roads, and many other local issues. We were never asked to vote on matters of policy of the Central Government. The idea that at a local election such things as same-sex marriage, abortion, euthanasia were open to discussion would have been a betrayal of the electorate, and the expressed wish of the local MP, duly elected by the people. The Greens are disillusioned if they think that by licking gay bottoms and denouncing homophobia real or imagined is going to win them the seat again.

  • Bob P

    Hm…just let’s look how things appear a few years from now…if allowed to go unchecked this gay marriage equality thing if not challenged will end up destroying the COE…some would say “not before time”


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