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Monday 28th January 2013 | 16:35
Philip Hammond is in a bit of a pickle over what he's alleged to have said and not said about gay marriage.
PinkNews.co.uk reported that he had likened the current ban on equal marriage to 'incest'.
The website went to the Defence Secretary for a quote after a blog had appeared from one of the students who had confronted him after a demonstration in his constituency last week.
When asked about the allegation, a spokesman for Hammond tells me: "It's untrue. He didn't equate equal marriage to incest."
Now, of course, 'equate' is not quite the same as 'compare' or 'liken'. And whole PHD theses could be written on the semantic differences (as Hammond's defenders and critics alike will point out). Hammond didn't do himself any favours by failing to explain properly to PinkNews what he'd said or meant.
But there is one strange element to this, which is the blog by student Jack Saffery-Rowe* that kicked the thing off.
His current version, which reflects the PinkNews emphasis on 'incest', reads:
But I've got a cached version of his original blog, which didn't have the word 'incest' in it:
When you compare and contrast these two, you see that this whole para has been inserted:
And when asked why the state should be allowed to say who can and who cannot have their relationship recognized by the law, he retorted that you wouldn’t allow “two siblings who loved each other to get married”. He equated the love of a same-sex couple with incest. This is the bile that the right-wing of the Tory party are pushing: the Victorian maxim that anything other than love between a man and a woman is as invalid as incest.
Hammond will have to explain further exactly why he made the comparison with 'siblings'. But he appears not to have said the word 'incest'.
HAT-TIP: Tweeter @DanB_bf
*FOOTNOTE: I've asked Jack via Twitter for more details, but so far no response.
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