National Trust U-turn over Felbrigg Hall Pride badges
A Christian campaign group that defends traditional marriage has welcomed a U-turn by the National Trust which attempted to force volunteers at Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk to wear rainbow gay Pride badges while on duty.
A number of volunteers refused and, following a public outcry with hundreds of members cancelling their subscriptions over the issue, the Trust backed down.
It had asked volunteers to wear the badges and lanyards in support of its Pride and Prejudice campaign which explores LGBTQ heritage at Trust properties. This included Felbrigg Hall where a recent TV film narrated by Stephen Fry suggested that its former owner, Robert Wyndham Ketton–Cremer, who gifted the property to the Trust, was a homosexual.
Ketton-Cremer's relatives wrote to The Daily Telegraph complaining that the "intensely private" historian and poet, who died in 1969, shouldn't have been exposed as gay.
A spokesman for the National Trust said: “We are making it clear to volunteers that the wearing of the badges is optional and a personal decision.”
They confirmed that volunteers no longer need to wear a badge or lanyard to perform front-facing duties, where previously they had been told they could not be allowed to if they did not wear the items.
Paul Forecast, Regional Director of the National Trust, said: “Asking staff and volunteers to wear the rainbow lanyards and badges was done with our best intentions. We’ve listened to our volunteers and feel that making the wearing of lanyards and badges optional, is the right decision to make.”
Mr Forecast added: “The Prejudice and Pride programme is extremely important to us, it’s important that we share our LGBTQ heritage, which plays an important part in the history of the nation and a vital role in unlocking the histories of some of our places. We don’t want to detract from the importance of this programme in anyway.”
Colin Hart, Campaign Director of the Coalition for Marriage, said: “The British public will not stand for people being coerced into saying things which they do not believe.
“Across every LGBT issue the public is promised freedom of conscience by politicians which is then eroded over time as employers and public bodies seek to advance their politically-correct agenda.
“We hope that this decision marks a line in the sand and that the National Trust will in future concentrate on its role protecting Britain’s physical heritage instead of acting against the wishes of its volunteers and members to promote same-sex lifestyles.”
Pictured above is Felbrigg Hall in North Norfolk.