Britain's most senior Catholic is named 'Bigot of the Year'

 

Cardinal Keith O'Brien was named Stonewall's Bigot of the Year last night, despite threats from Barclays and Coutts to withdraw their sponsorship of the awards over the category.

Cardinal O'Brien, the most senior figure in the Catholic Church in Britain, was "honoured" for his outspoken attacks on proposals to legalise same-sex marriage, which he has described as a "grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right".

But another churchman, the Reverend Giles Fraser, was named Hero of the Year at the gay and lesbian campaign group's annual awards. Rev Fraser, who has a wife and children, came to prominence last year after resigning from his post as Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral in protest at the treatment of the anti-capitalist Occupy protesters.

He is also a long-standing advocate of equality for gay people and tolerance within Anglicanism. His group, Inclusive Church, campaigns for the full recognition of gay relationships by the Church.

Last night's awards at the Victoria & Albert Museum were hosted by the television presenter Gok Wan. The comedian Sue Perkins, host of The Great British Bake Off , won Entertainer of the Year. A Stonewall spokesperson said her success in mainstream television is an inspiration to other gay people.

Britain's Got Talent won Broadcast of the Year, in recognition of the many openly gay acts, such as the Sugar Dandies, that have had success and been promoted by the programme.

Jeanette Winterson won Writer of the Year for her memoir Why Be Happy When You Could be Normal?, about her adoptive family's attempts to exorcise her sexuality. Rugby League won the Sports Award, after launching their "Tackle It!" initiative, which researches homophobia in sport and campaigns to end homophobic bullying in schools. Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, won Politician of the Year. She is the first openly gay leader of a major political party in Britain.

Stonewall pushed ahead with the Bigot of the Year category despite the hostility of sponsors. Barclays said it objected to an individual being labelled "so subjectively and pejoratively", while Coutts threatened to withdraw their support of the awards unless the category was removed.

Owen Jones wins journalist of year award

Stonewall has honoured Independent columnist Owen Jones, who was named Journalist of the Year alongside Hugo Rifkind. Jones has written extensively about sexual and gender equality, in addition to his work exposing the impact of poverty and social division.

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