Embattled Tory housing tsar Roger Scruton is facing renewed criticism as it emerges he claimed gay people have an “obsession with the young” and opposed gay marriage or adoption saying it would lead to similar rights for incestuous couples.
Scruton famously wrote in his 1986 book Sexual Desire that homosexuality is different from heterosexuality in a way that “explains … the traditional judgement of homosexuality as a perversion”, while “incest is a perversion only in an attenuated sense”. He has also said that homosexuality “is not normal”.
The philosopher would later distance himself from these comments in a 2010 interview with The Guardian, saying “I wouldn’t stand by what I said then”, but his actions since then tell a different story.
Writing for the alt-right blog Spiked in 2015, Scruton appeared not to have progressed substantially on his 1986 views, saying:
“…male homosexuality, because it’s not constrained by a woman’s need to fix a man down, is hugely promiscuous – the statistics are quite horrifying. And there’s also the obsession with the sexual organs rather than the relationship, this vector towards phallicism, the obsession with the young, which mean that, as I see it, homosexual desire, especially between men, is not the same kind of thing as heterosexual desire, even though it’s not a perversion.”
Speaking on Radio 4 in the same year, Scruton claimed homophobia had been “invented” to silence critics of gay lifestyles.
These views were borne out by Scruton’s campaigning against both marriage and adoption for same-sex couples. On same-sex marriage, he claimed “marriage is exclusively heterosexual because … unlike same-sex relationships, that union can and often does produce children” and predicted that “heterosexual marriage will not survive an extension to homosexuals”.
But it is in opposing adoption for same-sex couples that Scruton appeared to make an offensive comparison between homosexuality and incest, writing in a 2012 article titled “Made in Heaven” that “once the argument [for same-sex adoption] has prevailed it will be difficult to prevent the extension of marital rights … to incestuous relations”.
Scruton has also claimed that charges of transphobia are “the equivalent of the censorship of heresy in religious communities”.
While Scruton has released an official statement that he is “offended” by public scrutiny of his remarks, the news of his views on homosexuality will only add to calls on the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire, to reverse his appointment as chair of the government’s new commission on housing.