Some months ago, as I walked through the city of Hull, I noticed an advert in the window of a local high street bank. The picture was ambiguous and so, although I felt uneasy, I chose at this point to ignore it. However some days later, the same advert appeared as a short film on the television. It was basically two men on the street of a town and one was on one knee in front of the second man, holding a small ring box in his hand and the caption read, ‘He said yes.’
Now this bank has for some years been selling itself as a bank that has been with us down the years, always there to help, holding strong traditional values and morals. For example one of its recent adverts shows a rosy cheeked man and woman in 19th century dress, guiding a large shire horse together and ploughing the land.
Now I really prefer not to speak out. Genuinely, what consenting adults do behind closed doors is of no interest to me at all. But when these things are in our face, on our high streets, particularly influencing our young and vulnerable, I believe we must use our ‘one voice’ and speak out. I sent the following e-mail to the bank. All I can say is, the advert was removed from the bank window and I haven’t seen the advert on television since. Now I don’t attribute this to my e-mail, but it is a strong possibility that many others also challenged the bank on this issue. It is too easy to think our ‘one voice’ will be ignored, but many ‘one voices’ may well be heard and make a difference. Be respectful, be well mannered, balanced and courteous, but be courageous and let your voice be heard.
Email to LLOYDS BANK
I am writing to complain about your recent advert which I first saw in Lloyds bank Hull in which two men are embracing each other with the words, ‘He said yes’. Although I felt a little uneasy, I realised the advert was somewhat ambiguous and could also have other meanings. However subsequently the advert was run on the Television and the full meaning was obvious, this was one man proposing ‘marriage’ to another.
I want you to understand that by running this advert in the bank or on television, you cause offence to every devout Jew, every devout Christian and every devout Moslem, and I mean devout and not extremist. You also cause offence to those who may have no faith but hold conservative views. You also cause us problems as we seek to raise our young children with godly/traditional values and yet they are confused with these images.
The last set of adverts was to promote your traditional views and standards and assure us ‘the Black Horse’ had always been there for us. Your latest adverts totally counteract those assurances of traditional values. You need to remember, in that not too distant past in your previous adverts; the act of homosexuality was a crime that carried a prison sentence. And although I have absolutely no wish to return to those days, may I respectfully remind you, you are a bank and it is not your responsibility to seek to change or influence the moral opinions of the nation.
Just this last week the Bishops of the Church of England, our national church, have decided against the redefining of ‘Marriage’, believing it still today to mean, ‘the lifelong union between a man and a woman’. For a Bank to get involved in this is wholly inappropriate. What we ask of you, Lloyds Bank, and the service we require, is that you handle our finances well and with integrity.
Yours Faithfully, Marion Cooper.