Metro Morning

Michael Coren discusses his change of heart on same-sex marriage

A longtime Toronto media personality is opening up about why he decided to accept same-sex marriage after being such a strong voice against the movement.

'I know I hurt members of the gay community,' author says of former stance

Michael Coren tells CBC Radio he credits his religious faith for adopting a more tolerant view of same-sex marriage. (CBC)

A longtime Toronto media personality is opening up about why he decided to accept same-sex marriage after being such a strong voice against the movement. 

Michael Coren, 57, told CBC Radio's Metro Morning host Matt Galloway that he changed his stance on the matter for the same reason he embraced it in the first place: his faith. 

"I found that if my faith had to be about anything, it had to be about understanding, justice and inclusion," he said Monday. 

Maybe I gave a certain intellectual veneer to the arguments against same-sex marriage.- Michael Coren, author

The British-Canadian author, who hosted The Michael Coren Show for more than a decade, has written a new book called Epiphany in which he details his about-face on the topic. 

"I was increasingly uncomfortable, painfully so, with my position on sexuality and other issues of morality whilst also worshipping a man who was love personified," he said.

"I know I hurt members of the gay community," he admitted.

'I enabled hatred'

He said the homophobia taking place in Uganda really got him thinking about his position.

"The homophobia there is rampant. And it was to be made even worse," he said. "They were going to introduce legislation that would probably lead to the death penalty simply for being gay."

Michael Coren says he realized the importance of admitting when you're wrong during the writing of his new book. (Submitted by Michael Coren)
When Coren told conservative supporters to back John Baird, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, in denouncing anti-gay policy in the African country, he claimed he was attacked for it.

But he said he didn't change his stance in spite of being a Christian, he did so because he is one. 

"He doesn't mention homosexuality in scripture," Coren said in reference to Jesus Christ. "He does mention love a great deal."

That's why Coren stressed the need to open his door to others wider rather than keeping it closed. 

"It's difficult and essential," he said of saying sorry. "I hope I wasn't a hater but I do believe, to be candid, I enabled hatred. Maybe I gave a certain intellectual veneer to the arguments against same-sex marriage.

"There were a series of events in my life, both personal and public, that obliged me to rethink. And I think timing was an issue, too."

'It was difficult'

Two years ago, he wrote a piece in a Toronto newspaper apologizing for any hurt he may have caused with his former position and he said his employers at the newspaper told him he was confusing their readership. 

"It enabled me to actually speak my mind and I did go through an epiphany, a transition." 

It's only because his faith is "deeper than ever" that Coren decided to move forward with this new path.

"I saw the ugly face of conservative Christianity," he said, admitting it was not an easy transition. 

But Coren said the most important thing he realized through this change of heart and penning his book is learning to admit when you're wrong.

"In many ways, it was difficult. But my God, I'm so pleased I did it."

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