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Columnist Compares Opposing Gay Marriage To Publishing Charlie Hebdo Cartoons

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 30: Stephen Fry and Elliott Spencer are seen leaving the Grosvenor hotel, Park Lane on March 3
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 30: Stephen Fry and Elliott Spencer are seen leaving the Grosvenor hotel, Park Lane on March 30, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Niki Nikolova/FilmMagic)

A Daily Mail columnist used Stephen Fry's recent engagement to a much younger man to make a point about how opposing gay marriage is akin to Charlie Hebdo's publication of satirical cartoons.

Tom Utley's piece criticizing the relationship between Fry, 57, and 27-year-old partner Elliott Spencer was published in the Daily Mail Thursday. Although Spencer's parents said they were "over the moon," Utley said he would not have a similar reaction if his son came home engaged to Fry. Among his reasons, he listed the dramatic age difference as well as his own "difficulty in accepting the idea that a man can marry another man, or a woman a woman."

He questioned why other publications had not criticized Fry's upcoming nuptials when the news was first revealed earlier this month, blaming the "awesome power of the gay lobby" for the silence. He advocated on behalf of such criticism, comparing it to the satirical French magazine's right to publish controversial cartoons about the pope, the Prophet Muhammad and political figures.

Of course, some may say this is a salutary development. But can it ever be truly healthy if newspapers don’t dare print thoughts harboured by millions — whether about mass immigration, benefits for single parents, gay marriage or anything else short of incitement to violence? One final question. This was the week celebrities and politicians from all over the free world linked arms in defence of a Paris magazine’s right to give gratuitous offence to Muslims. OK, nobody is going to shoot me. But how many of them, I wonder, would show the same solidarity with a paper that showed similar disrespect for Mr Fry’s nuptial arrangements?

Other British journalists took to Twitter to criticize Utley's homophobia.

The Daily Mail was not immediately available for comment.

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